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Self-starter lands ‘diamond’ contract

Bahamas Striping, which started with a $5,000 grant from the self-starter program, has landed its largest contract to date – the company announcing yesterday that its very first client has now granted it a six-figure job.

The company was awarded the contract for the Old Fort Bay Town Centre and will involve striping 480 parking bays, 30 complete “STOP” bars and a half-mile of road.  Bahamas Striping’s president, Attario Mitchell, describes the work, now 40 percent complete, as the ‘“diamond” of all the work it’s done so far.

New Providence Development Company (NPD) granted the contract for striping the new shopping center, which replaces the Lyford Cay Shopping Centre in a bid to be the shopping hub of western New Providence.

“We’re very pleased to do repeat business with Bahamas Striping,” NPD’s vice president of finance and secretary, Marcus Grammatico, told Guardian Business yesterday.  “As a company we are very proud to help out a start-up Bahamian company, and just to see where they are seventeen months later working on a project that’s much larger in scope.”

Grammattico said he’s been at the worksite every day Bahamas Striping has been on the project. He was very impressed with the progress the company has made, not just in their technical capacity but their corporate development as well.

“We are proud to see what they have done to stay on top of their game – bringing in resources to train and investing in new equipment, hiring people to help manage the company, staying in the media and showing Bahamians the good work they do.  They’re really doing a fantastic job,” Grammatico said.

The model of reinvesting in the business and in developing its human capital continues for Bahamas Striping.  In fact, some of the proceeds from the Old Fort Bay Town Centre have already been earmarked as a down-payment for a piece of equipment which, according to Mitchell, will dramatically increase productivity by melting thermoplastic materials at a faster rate.

“With this contract, and another we expect by the end of the month, we should be able to purchase an $80,000 thermal truck to allow us to have all the equipment we need to do all the striping in The Bahamas,” Mitchell said.

Describing the impact the machine should have on productivity, Mitchell compared how it would fare against the company’s existing equipment.  While he said the old equipment was fine as a first machine, it would take a week to pave a two-mile road with two four-inch center lines and two four-inch edge lines.  The new truck, with two 1,500 pound thermoplastic melters, would do the same work in two days he said.

Mitchell said he’s hoping the new truck will help the company to achieve its target of $1 million in sales by the end of the year.

The project has also allowed the company to take on three temporary workers to augment its staff of eight.   Among them is 20 year-old Edward Jermaine Rolle.   He told Guardian Business he was out of work for two months prior to the job from Bahamas Striping.

“I started working on Monday and when I was hired, I didn’t know much about the job,” Rolle said.  “Since working with them, though, I learned more and more and I can see this being a career for me.”

Mitchell said training and developing young Bahamian talent remains a priority.  His company has brought in Brian Bostock to train staff on international striping standards and best practices.  He also said his company was pleased to be involved in the transfer of skills to young Bahamians.

Bahamas Striping is a well-known success story of the government’s Self Starter Program that granted Mitchell $5,000 to start his business in May of 2010.

“We are very grateful to New Providence Development.  They were our first client and gave us our first job, 17 months ago.  They took a chance on a small Bahamian company we’re truly appreciative for that – that’s what our country is all about,” Michell said.

“Who would imagine that a $5,000 grant would generate what we have today.  I never saw it being so successful – employing so many Bahamians.  Thanks to God, we have become a major player in the striping business in the Bahamas.”

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