Business Development Officer at FundAccess, Ronald Wiltshire, cutting the ribbon to officially open TodaMart Inc. on Sunday while Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland (left); co-owners Dale and Grafton Haynes and others look on. (GP)

The opening of a new mini-mart in St. George has been described as “what can result when love, hard work and a Christian resolve is poured into an entrepreneurial venture”.

This is how Sunday’s opening of TodaMart Inc. was viewed by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland.

Addressing a brief ceremony at the adjacent Bethel Pentecostal Church, Drax Hall, St. George, he further noted it was indicative of an industrious couple’s willingness to give back to their community – “a mantra of the true principles of Christianity”.

Minister Sutherland added that the initiative must not be positioned only to create wealth for its owners, investors and staff, but must be seen in its wider context as repositioning the church and church-related interventions to be symbols of hope for the seemingly hopeless.

“Christian entrepreneurship must bear testimony to the real goal of the church. That is to engage its many and diverse constituents in leading more productive lives as they pursue an eternal outcome.  This business, therefore, must be a spring board to encourage the youth, the elderly, persons living with disabilities, women and the men of this community to do something positive for the benefit of each other,” he said.

The husband and wife team of Grafton and Dale Haynes are co-owners of the minimart and are parishioners of the Bethel Pentecostal Church.

In welcoming the venture, the Small Business Minister urged the couple to cooperate in community ventures and challenged them to help form a cluster and a cooperative, where backward and forward linkages are leveraged, and vertical and horizontal integration is encouraged “as a means of building out genuine community enterprise and the spirit of cluster cooperation”.

Referring to them as ‘Christpreneurs’, he said the effort should be pursued by churches across the island to encourage members to create economic wealth and strategically transform the social landscape of the nation.

Mr. Haynes, in expressing gratitude, said it would seek to meet everyone’s day-to-day needs in Drax Hall.  Noting that it had been incorporated in November 2018, he said it is “a community-based business with continuous innovation of grocery experience”, intended to provide convenient shopping.

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