Madge Neil-Burnett's Entrepreneurial Journey
IT STARTED 21 years ago as a small supermarket and bar - and with high hopes that visitors passing on tour buses to and from a nearby great house attraction would perhaps stop and buy something. The tour buses did stop - so did residents from the thriving, expanding, surrounding little district of Greenwood.
And so, Greenwood Plaza - on five acres of land, on the Montego Bay to Falmouth, St. James/Trelawny border main road, 16 miles east of downtown Montego Bay - was born. It has since blossomed and thrived into one of Western Jamaica's most famous, enduring and competitive business ventures of its kind.
Greenwood Plaza is now a multimillion-dollar conglomerate, consisting of a sweeping, well-stocked hardware store, a restaurant and bar - and a large furniture and electrical appliances centre on an upstairs floor all by itself stocks enough goods to furnish more than one mansion.
The household appliances centre is forming the core of a major western regional marketing thrust that winsome managing director, Mrs. Madge Neil Burnett, and her management team have formulated to mark, celebrate and commemorate Greenwood Plaza's 21st 'coming of age' anniversary.
"We are looking at an advertising blitz, giveaways and other outreaches!" she reports. "Our aim is to attract customers not only to our overall, general array of goods - but, particularly, to our household line of furniture and electrical appliances."
Greenwood Plaza decided to add the major furniture and appliances centre because it was needed. "Customers came asking and asking for furniture and other electrical appliances - and eventually we felt compelled to add them to our portfolio," Mrs. Neil Burnett reports. "The response has been encouraging and buoyant."
Greenwood Plaza's furniture and appliance area offers a wide variety of goods for every room of the home - "a marvellous selection of some of the very best and most attractive pieces," she says.
"Overall, Greenwood Plaza has been successful!" says a beaming Mrs. Neil Burnett. "We offer customers everything - quite literally from a pin to an anchor. We have both these items in stock!"
HANDS-ON FAMILY BUSINESS
She has managed to run a tight, hands-on family business, in an era when competitors have come and gone by the score - destroyed by the vicissitudes of a weary Jamaican economy of tight, dissipating money, and a currency that continues to be eviscerated almost daily.
But success for Madge Neil Burnett's Greenwood Plaza did not come overnight - or lightly. She will be the first to admit that oftentimes the going was tough.
"It was a question of giving in - or continuing," she recalls. "I chose to carry on - all through the robberies and the thefts, and all of that."
Through it all, she is 'proud' to have had a good staff team - now numbering over 30 - behind her. And a very special person in her life.
"Trevor Burnett was my friend, pillar and business associate even before Greenwood Plaza came into being. Three years ago, he became my husband!" she said