Greenwood Plaza, rising from nothing
Greenwood, a community located in St. James at its border with Trelawny, was aptly named for its greenery but though the name has relevance, up to 15 years ago it was only an area that people passed through on their way to work or to do business in the capital towns of each parish.
Those who visited Greenwood were mostly tourists transported there to view the Great House within the coastal community.
It was in this kind of setting that Madge Patricia Neil, then 31 –year-old, armed only with the business acumen nurtured from she was a little girl and a vision of the area’s possibilities, decided to establish Greenwood Plaza Company Limited.
It was a move that earned her many curious looks from friends who wondered why one woman running a successful grocery shop and bar at Albion, Montego Bay then, would want to leave that to not only live in the ‘‘wilderness’’ but also to set up business there.
She heard comments like, ‘‘Nobody no live de, it off the main road, is who gwine come buy from yuh?’’, but ‘Miss P’ as she is popularly known, refuse to be deterred even when the banks refused to support her idea. ‘’You must always follow your dream,’ said ‘Miss P’, whose tall commanding frame exudes confidence.
So she persisted. The help she needed finally came and having decided that people satisfaction would be the plank of her success, in the early to mid 1980s she established GPCL, a business consisting of a supermarket, variety store, bar and lounge.
In no time, Greenwood Plaza began to attract the curious and the curiosity made them customers. The word spread and as the area developed into a prime residential area, the ‘madness’ tag was replaced by ‘genius’, just as ‘Miss P’ herself had predicted.
Always looking for growth, whether it be plants or otherwise, Miss P reasoned that with the boom in housing construction, it would be a cinch to capture those builders who were travelling to Falmouth or Montego Bay for supplies by making the same products available to them in a friendly relaxed atmosphere, served by a caring staff.
From this rationale, the lounge and bar receded into the background and Greenwood Hardware Store became a reality.
‘’Here we pride ourselves on being able to provide everything for anybody establishing a home. Once you have the land, Greenwood Plaza can support the rest at reasonable prices with low cost delivery service added,’’ said Miss P. with more than a glint of pride in her business accomplishments.
But all the successes at Greenwood could not be achieved without the staff, she said. ‘’It is difficult to single out any one person, whether it is my husband (Trevor Burnett) or any one member of staff. All members of my team work toward the good of us all. Here, we are a family. It just couldn’t have happen without them,’’ she said. Neither could it without its customers and so GPCL arranges special community events as its way of saying thanks.
There has been an annual Christmas Treat for children and the school in the area as well as sponsorship for sportsmen from the community.
Miss P, a lover of Rhythm and Blues music, is most often at work. Whenever she finds the time, she tries to prove she has green fingers by planting what she can and watching growth in a different form take place outside the company. She worships at Calvary Baptist Church in Montego Bay.
Her advice to others would be entrepreneurs is simply this: ‘’Always be there for your customers to give as much as possible personalized service. All parts of the operation are very important.’’
Over time, Greenwood Plaza Company is to be expanded further, with immediate plans now including a pharmacy.
Greenwood Plaza Company Limited (GWP) has strategically positioned itself to be the leading home centre, stocking a wide range of products and offering a wide variety of services; all at the most competitive prices.
We aim to surpass our customers’ expectations by keeping abreast of current trends in the marketplace, as well as providing affordable, unique, durable, effective and energy-efficient product lines.
Our team guarantees exceptional customer service and after sales support to ensure continued success for all stakeholders.
Board of Directors
Madge Neil-Burnett, O.D., J.P.
Chairman & Managing Director
Madge Neil-Burnett or Ms. Pat as she is affectionately called is a celebrated business proprietor and Justice of the Peace for the parish of St. James. She started Green Wood Plaza as a small supermarket, bar and gift shop in 1982; but her entrepreneurial journey commenced long before, from in the early 1970’s. Today Greenwood Plaza is a very successful, multi-divisional organization.
Ms. Pat is considered by many to be a beacon for business development; having pioneered many divisional expansions for Greenwood Plaza which were a first for St. James parish. She has been featured in several publications including the Gleaner, the Observer and the Western Mirror and she currently serves as president of the board of the Greenwood Citizens Association.
An important aspect of her life is philanthropy; her personal maxim being: ‘There is no I can’t, everyone can make it, with a little help.’ In her spare time Ms. Pat enjoys gardening, attending horticultural shows, travelling, photography, music and dance.
Trevor Burnett, Snr.
Mr. Trevor Burnett Snr. is an Executive Director of Greenwood Plaza Co. Ltd. He is often described by friends as quiet and reserved but this unassuming nature in no way speaks to his very successful business acumen.
He worked as a Customs Officer for many years before retiring in 2001 to join his wife Madge Neil-Burnett in business. Throughout his illustrious career with Jamaica Customs he was the recipient of several outstanding performance awards.
Mr. Burnett is affectionately called Bungles within his close friends and family unit. Though reserved, he is easy to talk to and is always quick to lend a helping hand to those in need. He likes to keep abreast of current affairs and enjoys gardening and music in his spare time.
Christopher Burnett is an innovative business leader who subscribes to the mantra that corporate social responsibility and profitability are not mutually exclusive but intrinsically linked. He joined the management of his family’s business in 2008, serving as General Manager for three years, before subsequently been voted in as a Director in 2011.
Christopher is a true representation of the adage ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. In the same way that his parents worked hard to build Greenwood Plaza, he too is steadfast on continuing their legacy. To date, chief amongst his accomplishments is the implementation of the GWP Money Services Division.
Christopher holds an honours degree in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and is also a graduate of Knox College in Manchester. Outside of his professional endeavors, Christopher enjoys travelling, swimming and music.
Greenwood Plaza Company Limited’s Hardware Division is an authorized distributor Carib Cement Plus, the Portland Pozzolan Cement. We currently supply the regular 94lb (42.5kg) bags.
- National Contracts Commission Jamaica
Greenwood Plaza Company Limited is a registered and qualified goods and services contractor. Therefore public sector entities can source quality ad reasonably priced supplies from the wide variety that we offer.
- Tropical Battery
The Tropical Battery brand is available at Greenwood Plaza as we are an authorized dealer for the company. We stock various types of batteries and other products sold by Tropical Battery. We also extend warranty on all batteries we sell.