Building a Business Heritage
At 80 years old, Nerris Hawthorne is Hanover's most renowned businesswoman. She is the proprietor of the Florizel Court Villas in Lucea, which she built over 25 years ago.
"I was over 50 years old and living abroad for most of my adult life. I thought this was high time to return to Jamaica and do something in my country, something that I enjoy doing," said Hawthorne.
"This is something that I was interested in because I was involved in the hotel business in England for a period. I was fortunate enough to find an area in Hanover that has dear to my heart ... .
"The land faced the sea, which made it an ideal position to start this business. So I ventured into building a property, which I called Florizel Court Villas. It is a small hotel with a swimming pool, bar and restaurant," added Hawthorne .
She credits her business success to her personality and her ability to engage guests and make them feel comfortable.
"I am a people person. I love people, and once you can give of yourself, I think people will warm to you. If people come as guests, you have got to treat them as if it is a home away from home ... . I am full of love and people immediately see this and they come again and again," said Hawthorne.
Dubbed by many in the parish as the ultimate 'Energiser Bunny', Hawthorne says she has absolutely no plans for retirement, as living a sedentary lifestyle is not in her nature.
"I don't consider age to be an impediment to anything that I do, as long as I still feel mentally fit," quipped Hawthorne.
"I am involved, yes, because it is my property and I have expended considerable sums of money there and though I am not physically managing it myself, I still oversee the day-to-day running of the place and make sure that anyone who comes to stay there are comfortable.
"I have passed my retirement age many moons ago, and I will not retire. I have no plans for retirement because not being active is something I cannot do."
With respect to succession plans, Hawthorne said her grandchildren or other relatives might have to take on that responsibility.