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Merle Fernandez, Manager – Kids Plus

Merle Fernandez, Manager – Kids Plus


Searchlight Business takes a close up look at Merle Fernandez, Manager of Kids Plus.

Q: Are you living your professional dream?

A: My earliest recollection of a professional dream was that of becoming a teacher. Back then, teachers were highly respected in the community and that was something I really admired. I never envisioned becoming an entrepreneur. As I grew older however, and began to broaden my horizons, things changed.{{more}}

In 1989 with three daughters, I found it very difficult finding clothing for them, and I saw the need for a children’s store. So with the help of those around me, I opened my business called, “Kids Plus” on November 15 1989.

Q: What do you do to relax?

A: I do a variety of things. My favourite pastime however is listening to music, especially vintage calypsoes: the ones that were around when I was younger. I also enjoy listening to gospel music. In addition to that, I find much relaxation and enjoyment in dancing, going to picnics or even a boat ride once in a while with relatives and close friends. I also do a bit of gardening.

Q: How do you spend your weekends?

A: My weekends are spent mostly with family: my fiancé and three daughters and two grand daughters. Quite often too, a substantial part of my weekends is spent entertaining friends.

Q: What is your favourite meal?

A: It is very difficult for me to single out a favourite meal. Generally, I love the kitchen and I usually enjoy what I cook- especially local foods. As I think of it though, a good plate of stewed fish in combination with rice and green pigeon peas will always tempt me.

Q: What challenges you most in life?

A: From the business point of view, dealing with the fierce competition on the market is indeed challenging. It calls for much creativity and sometimes it amounts to a very delicate balancing act in order to ensure profitability. After all, even if one enjoys what one is doing if the business does not make a profit it makes no sense to continue.

Q: What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

A: In most cases, I purchase for my store and travel abroad four or five times a year to do so. It sometimes feels very personal and it takes a lot of sacrifice. So whenever I see children and young people dressed in clothing purchased at my store, it gives me much satisfaction. I really enjoy looking at them. My position in the store also provides me with the opportunity to interact with persons from all walks of life and that too brings much enjoyment.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration to go on?

A: My inspiration to go on comes from two main sources. Firstly there is God. I pray a lot and especially so during those times in my life when I feel very depressed and feel as if I can’t go on. I will pray and seek his strength and guidance and he does provide! Secondly, there are my three wonderful and talented daughters and my two beautiful grand daughters. They inspire me to want to live on to see them grow up and take their rightful place in life.

Q: Who has the most positive influence on your life?

A: My fiancé of over 30 years is the individual who has the most positive influence on my life. I am grateful for this. He has been with me every step of the way for the entire 16 year life of the business. He has been a source of encouragement as he prods me to explore new avenues and strive for the best always.

Q: If you were given the power to change one thing in the country or the world, what would it be?

A: Presently society is too fragmented. People become too selfish and individualistic. If I had the power to change anything here I would seek to change these tendencies and replace them with those of love and togetherness. This I am certain would put an end to the extreme violence we often witness in our communities.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

A: I enjoy what I am doing; and once God gives me the strength and blesses with good health over the next five to 10 years, I would strive to expand and possibly venture into new areas of interest.