Fabulous furniture to be found downtown
For those in the know, downtown Kingston is the place to go for top-quality furniture beautifully crafted by tradesmen who say that while the trade is not making them rich, they enjoy the pleasure they bring to the people who purchase every item.
"Right now, things are a bit slow, but we try to support a lot of the stores in and around the place and for private customers; we do customisation that last for a lifetime," said 42-year-old Donovan Scarlett, who has been working in downtown Kingston for the past 10 years.
Scarlett, who hails from Westmoreland, has found himself doing what he loves with a few of his friends in a furniture shop on Water Lane.
According to Scarlett, when he came to Kingston years ago, he spent some time doing odd jobs before he found himself there with the others trying to make a living in the furniture business.
"No one not looking any riches anymore, but a way to survive," said Scarlett.
For him, survival means making some of the best looking beds, bed tables, wardrobes and other furniture.
He said that not only do his furniture catch the eyes, but they come at prices that are hard to match in the stores with a shopper able to get a custom made bed for as little as $12,000.
Like Scarlett, Abraham Ferguson has been around about the same time. He entered the trade after watching his father as a child.
Although he has passed his 50th birthday, Ferguson says it is a joy making furniture in downtown Kingston and selling them at affordable prices.
Ferguson employs five men to help him, doing his little part to boost the economy in the depressed communities around his shop.
"Things are on the downside a little, but I've been doing this over 30 years now," said Ferguson as he added that he mainly supplies private customers.
Other furniture manufacturers in the area supply several of the major stores in downtown with their products, matching up favourably with the imported furniture.
"We offer good quality at low prices and that is what Jamaicans are looking for now," said one furniture maker who gave his name as Gary.
"For us, it is a joy to come up with different and unique designs that last for years and years based on the quality of our work and the types of board that we use," added Gary.