Ministry of Tourism
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
The first ever Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace at the Atlantis Paradise Island drew scores of businesses and interested Bahamians over the weekend. Vendors, who were invited to attend the marketplace, said they were thankful for the exposure.
Amanda Ferguson of Biggity, a company that produces soy candles, body butters, body scrubs and other all-natural products, said the marketplace was a positive initiative to help Bahamian businesses.
“We are a small Bahamian company,” she said.
“I’m an entrepreneur and it’s difficult to get your name out there in the marketplace.
“So at an event like this it actually puts together a very well rounded set of people that you get to expose your products to and your company.
“We’re here for exposure and we hope that businesses would like to carry our products too.
“It’s been good. It’s a bit slow right now but it’s picking up.”
The idea behind the marketplace was to create a one-stop shop of unique Bahamian vendors and expose them to big buyers
Director in the Office of the Minister of Tourism Janet Johnson said the marketplace was the brainchild of Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.
“He was at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) marketplace, which is a buyer seller forum, and he got the idea from some of the vendors there to start something for the vendors where we bring in the buyers and the sellers,” said Johnson.
Sharon Andrews of Coconut Queen from Andros has been making virgin coconut oil for the last six years.
She uses organic coconuts to make her products.
“I think this is a good opportunity for me and this is a marketplace different from all of the other festivals,” she said.
“There are people here who can buy in bulk.
“This is an opportunity where you can put your business out there. My most favorite product I want to put out there are my soaps. I’m doing coconut soaps naturally.”
Front Office Manager of Sandyport Beaches Resort Chralda Arnett had already placed several orders on Friday after seeing the diversity of products in the marketplace.
“We believe in being 100 percent Bahamian,” she said.
“We’re looking at a variety of stuff to enhance our already awesome product.
“We want to move away from the regular hotel soaps and move into Bahamian made soaps.”
Describing the marketplace, Arnett said, “It’s like a one-stop shop.
“Instead of having to look around or call around we came here and everything is here, from spices to soaps, artwork, crafts, everything is here. This makes it so much easier.”
Minister Wilchcombe said he was impressed by the diversity he saw in the marketplace.
“The quality is good and they (the vendors) just lacked the opportunity,” he said.
“I’m very pleased that we have the banks and investors here to take a look at what the vendors have to offer.”
Wilchcombe said he hopes that the Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace can grow and expand to attract international buyers.
“You have to market your product,” he said.
“We’re going to be able to do so online very shortly. We have events that we can attend and by taking those events doors can open.”
He added, “Seeing the diversity here, that surprises me.
“What I do like about it is that these people have been working quietly and just waiting for that opportunity. We haven’t touched them all so we are going to have to go to some other islands.
“We have to continue. It has to be almost regular.
“We have to find different staging grounds to attract people to see what we have to offer.”