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In The News
Skywritings - Air Jamaica's in flight magazine October 2007 - All in the family business
I started my brand in 1991…I felt that if I had my own brand I could do a better job [of distributing coffee],” Fletcher shares. He learnt a thing or two about business from his entrepreneurial dad who ran his own manufacturing plant, specializing in bottled sauces and seasoning production as principal of Fletcher Bowman Limited. At the height of Jamaica’s economic struggles in the 1990s, the senior Fletcher sold the business before taking the position of managing director at local coffee manufacturer Salada Foods.
But as one Fletcher closed business, the other ventured out, building a business from scratch with guidance from his father. Eventually, after retiring from Salada, the elder Fletcher joined his son in building the new business. “We roast, select green beans, do the cupping and distribution on our own,” says the coffee manufacturer, pointing out that much of the sales are facilitated by the business’ strong online presence.
“The website brings in much of the export business…each year we get new customers,” Fletcher shares. Arguably, the online sales feature initially set Country Traders apart from competitors; with the ability to directly access the international market, Fletcher found a virtually untapped market for the one of island’s most famous exports.
Last year, with over 200 local customers and a steady stream of internet orders, Country Traders sales were in excess of J$100 million with a 10 per cent profit margin to boot. Fletcher chalks his success up to the firm values no doubt gleaned from his dad. “We’ve been in the market long enough to build good relationships with our customers, and our products are quality.” And how instrumental is his dad to the organization’s progression? “He’s semi-retired—not young—and it’s his time to enjoy life.” Fletcher says. “He doesn’t need to do much, but he still comes in regularly and assists me. He’s there whenever I need help.”
EXCERPT FROM SKYWRITINGS MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2007