100% Authentically JAMAICAN

Friday, August 24, 2018

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Many have fond memories of Things Jamaican. A trip there would signal that a vacation abroad was imminent, as well as provide an opportunity to purchase some of the best tamarind balls available locally. Now run by the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC), Things Jamaican carries items from over 400 local entrepreneurs in its three shops — Devon House, Norman Manley International Airport and at its corporate headquarters at 14 Camp Road. This year, the iconic purveyor of 100% authentically Jamaican products celebrates its 55th birthday and a minor face-lift, to boot!

According to the JBDC, “In keeping with the gastronomy focus of the historic Devon House, Things Jamaican has once again reinvented itself by transforming this location into the country's first authentic Jamaican speciality food store.” And, on the evening of August 22, the new Things Jamaican officially opened.

The event, held on the East Lawn of Devon House, was attended by government officials, businesspeople, foreign dignitaries, supporters of “Made in Jamaica” and the conceptualiser of Things Jamaican and former Prime Minister of Jamaica Edward Seaga. The event began with a stellar performance by “modern-day mento band” Rhumbakah. Comprised of talented young men from St Catherine's Charlemont High School, Rhumbakah (a portmanteau of the genre's requisite rhumba box and Jamaica) have a unique sound that got all in attendance head-dipping and shoulder-shimmying in their seats.

Valerie Veira and Harold Davis, JBDC chief executive officer and deputy chief executive officer, respectively, spoke about the importance of supporting brand Jamaica. Each Things Jamaican product goes through rigorous testing and meets global standards. These items are ready for sale on the global market not, as Veria put it, “just in a parish in Jamaica”.

In his address, Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, was passionate about protecting and investing in the “Made in Jamaica” brand. He mentioned that at one of the island's international airports, one is hard pressed to find souvenirs made in Jamaica and he plans to put them “on notice”. The minister was shocked at how many become inured to those capitalising on Jamaican culture and praised Things Jamaican for being purveyors of 100% authentically Jamaican products.

The new shop is anchored by a stunning array of locally made condiments, sweets, liqueurs, spices and pantry staples. The shop's own line, Jamaica Harvest, includes a variety of gluten-free flours, granola and bars made from, among other things local fruits and tubers, breadfruit, plantain, sweet potato, banana and cassava. The store is rounded out by a bricolage of items from the brand's seven other main product categories — aromatherapy, entertainment, fashion, accessories, home, packages and souvenirs.

According to JBDC deputy chief executive officer Harold Davis, “Things Jamaican was initially founded to promote the craft sector through research, design and marketing of high-quality Jamaican handmade products.” Fifty-five years later, Friday Social gives kudos for staying true to its core message, as well as inspiring pride in world-class products that are 100% authentically Jamaican.

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