Baha Mar chooses local firms for events
Two Bahamian owned and operated destination management companies(DMCs)and a number of Bahamian subcontractors staged the recent Baha Mar groundbreaking ceremony and celebratory dinner, which cost in access of$250,000.
The celebratory dinner was held on the evening of February 21, and the groundbreaking event was held the following day. The project has been billed by developers as perhaps the largest of its kind currently in process anywhere in the world.
Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar chairman and CEO, said to the media after the groundbreaking event on Monday that it is businesses like the two DMCs and the various Bahamian subcontractors hired for the events, that he hoped would benefit from the project.
“I hope that we will be able to benefit small business owners, not just on New Providence but everywhere in The Bahamas, for example fishermen,”Izmirlian said, adding that many guests ask for fresh fish when they come to The Bahamas.”So all kinds of small business owners from single fishermen to larger companies can benefit from the project, and that’s one of our guiding principles, to make sure these small business owners benefit from Baha Mar.”
The two DMCs do not sell fish, but fall under the guiding principle Izmirlian mentioned. They pulled off events which Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of administration and external relations, described as’phenomenal’. He toldGuardian Businesson Tuesday that the estimated cost of the groundbreaking event and the celebratory dinner was in excess of$250,000, and that Baha Mar made a conscious decision to utilize Bahamian DMC companies.
Damien Miller, president of DMC(Bahamas)Ltd., welcomed the decision. His company organized the groundbreaking event, which he said took 17 days, a 24-hour-per-day weekend beginning Friday 18th, and a lot of prayers, but came together successfully.
“Obviously with a project of this magnitude[Baha Mar]could have made a selection to go with any international company with years of experience and a wonderful track record for doing events of this size, but they decided to keep it at home and they decided to support our economy,”Miller said yesterday.
Around 35-40 staff members were used to pull off the groundbreaking, according to Miller, adding that they came from a pool of broadly skilled professionals the company draws on, with skills ranging from carpentry and floral arranging to the spandex design used for the groundbreaking. He said another six or seven vendors were utilized to provide services including audio/visual services, arch framework and tenting.
“All of the vendors we hired were local,”Miller said, adding that his company received a lot of positive feedback about the groundbreaking ceremony, which he said was very important for two reasons. The first is that a Bahamian company had been able to pull off the event and achieved a high level of quality, and the second was the message sent to young entrepreneurs that you do not have to come from a’substantive background’to succeed. He added that his company was celebrating its 5th anniversary and had’started from nothing.’
The celebratory dinner the prior evening was handled by another local DMC company, Bahamian Fantasies. Its General Manager Victorine Bannister-Collie also used local talent to stage the dinner event.
“We are happy that Baha Mar has the utmost confidence in the local talent in The Bahamas, and we are happy that they trusted us to pull off that event for them,”Bannister-Collie said in an interview yesterday.
According to the general manager, her company used about nine people just to create the decor, while the firm responsible for the lighting, LAV, used roughly six people. LAV is a Bahamian audio/visual company operated by Prince Williams.
“Bahamian Fantasies is one of(Baha Mar’s)preferred vendors, so they have seen a lot of previous events that I have done for them inside the hotel,”Bannister-Collie said. According to her, LAV was the Sheraton’s in-house lighting company.
Additional subcontractors including Bahamia Rental and Graycliff cigars were also brought on by Bahamian Fantasies. Bannister-Collie said that everyone was pleased with the outcome, noting that the amount of local talent available for such events is amazing.
“One time ago we had to send away for all the lighting and stuff and ship it in containers, but no more, it’s all here on the island… We have the capacity to pull off any event locally, and we did use all Bahamian subcontractors,”Bannister-Collie said.