Saturday, January 19th 2008
Technical Director Paul Chan (right) promoting one of the bread samples. Finance Director Reginald Sancho is at left while CEO Lawrence Henry is second from left.
"Compare Bread" will soon open its doors to the Linden community but it has already gotten positive responses from residents who have sampled the product.
Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Henry said "Compare Bread is a partnership business and our main focus is to impact the lives of residents here. We put people first and we know for sure the profit will follow," he said.
Henry has lived overseas for many years and although he had successfully established himself as a businessman abroad, he said he has always wanted to return to Linden to help to develop the town.
The journey to establishing the business started two years ago. Henry said at first the partners had toyed with the idea of opening a small bakery attached to another partnership business, Kresent Mall. However, after careful consideration he said the partners realised that neither the location nor the space was adequate.
About 18 months ago they were able to purchase the building that once housed Patnomike in Industrial Area, McKenzie. Since that time the partners have invested over US$2.5M to equip the bakery with state-of-the-art equipment. "Not in my wildest dream have I thought that we would have had to invest this amount of money. We had to take nothing and make it into something," Henry said.
Technical Director of Compare Bread, Paul Chan, said it was important to maintain a quality service. Chan is an expert in the baked products industry who has worked in more than 25 plants worldwide. He said management intends to focus on the breads and tennis rolls and while their long-term goal is to tap into the international market, their immediate goal is to secure a place on the local market. The bakery will operate an outlet from a central location in McKenzie which it intends to develop into a café.
According to Financial Advisor Reginald Sancho the company is currently testing several of its breads with its training staff. They started off with a team of ten which has since grown to over 40. He said the company plans to employ more than 125 Lindeners by year end. Currently staff work a 12-hour shift but once operations come fully on stream the company intends to operate six days per week, 24 hours per day with three shifts.
The partners say some of their greatest dreams for the factory are to have its employees absorb 45% of the ownership and establish a credit union and a day care facility for the employees' children. (Cathy Wilson)