66 67 BEST OF BARBADOS friend.The shop proved very popular; the products were very different fromwhat other people were offering at the time.The number of shops grew and when my wife, Sue, and I joined the company in 1990,we had seven shops and by 2005,we had 15!” By that time, according to Trew, the company had also grown beyond its management capabilities, so he and his wife, Jimmy and Jill’s youngest daughter and an artist in her own right, decided to pick the best shop locations and “right-size.”“We did a deal with some of the shop managers and they took over their shops and became our wholesale cus- tomers,”Trew explains.“Then we had a couple of shops which we closed because of redevelopment schemes and a number of infrastructure changes in Barbados. So,we came down to five shops.” Today, the Best of Barbados has a staff of 48 spread across those five prime locations, and Trew reports that over 30 percent of those employees have been with the company for more than 25 years.“We realized the importance of training our staff and also making them happy, not just with a good financial package but also with strong family JILL AND JIMMY WALKER values and a sense of wellbeing which reflects in the way that they handle our customers,”he states.“They treat customers like well-respected members of their own family and this personal service, combined with our wide range of quality merchandise at reasonable prices, has gone a long way to making us a success. It is our staff, combined with our family’s artistic talent and craft items made bymany talented Barbadians,which separates us and puts us way above the crowd. If you give good value, good service, and a great product, you’ve got a great recipe for success.” With a population of only 300,000, Barbados has close to 1.3 million visitors a year, and Trew says that the companymaintains a big share of the tourist market–especially cruise ship visitors who shop at the Best of Barbados outlet at the cruise ship terminal. Indeed, over time, the com- pany has been a great source of foreign exchange for the country.When it applied for its retail location at the island’s only airport, just over ten years ago, it was assessed to have brought in over US$120 million worth of foreign exchange since its inception in 1975. “Within the Barbados market,we’re well-known,” Trew asserts.“We have a very good cross section of that market who shop regularly with us. Every year,we also have a lot of returning visitors who Nicholas and Desiree screenprinting kids’ aprons Sue Trew’s Turtle Tracks Family with books and matching toys.