Laura Bent, entrepreneur and trooper in her own way
"A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success."
- Elbert Hubbard
When 27-year-old Laura Sade Bent found that the career plans she had made for herself were not materialising, she made good on her family's property and started her own business.
Bent, a little fire cracker who knows how to get what she wants and holds her own, even when hard times come, attributes her stick-to-itiveness to her parents, who introduced her to the art of managing her life.
"I've been business-minded since I was 16, when I started working at PineValley Estates with my mom, who is property manager and my stepdad, owner and contractor. It gave me a feel of what it's like to be the person who is responsible for having all the operations carried out."
Though introduced to the field of business, Bent pursued studies in early childhood education.
However, after stumbling on obstacles, her fate was soon found in an area for which she was destined.
"Since I did early childhood education, I thought my first business would have been a preschool, but after enquiring about all I would need to start one, I decided to start a restaurant. After all, I love cooking and being a hostess. On Sundays, dinner would be ready by 11 a.m. with a variety of dishes. Some of my relatives and friends would even purchase groceries and have me cook."
Bent thought that if her family and friends loved her cooking that much, then others would, too - enough to pay her for it.
HOW SHE STARTED
"I had the location - a building in front of my family home where my aunt had a bar and grocery shop that was not in use at the time. I had some work done on it, did word-of-mouth advertising, and got started. I wanted to name it 'Sade's Cafe and Smoothie Bar', but it was given the name 'Lunch Tree Restaurant and CafÈ' because of a huge tree that was in front of the building." Bent told Family & Religion.
Business was good. Bent's brother, Joseph, would take shifts, and customers were coming in droves. But soon, there were too few seats to accommodate the crowd.
"I was open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. most days ... because people wanted to sit and have their food. I had a lot of losses. I started working on the sitting area and stepped back a little from cooking every day."
It was through this period of revamping that Bent thought of the idea for 'Cravings Sunday', an offering of delicious meals desserts and that became a hit.
But at the moment when Bent thought she had all her bases covered, she fell into a rut yet again.
"I started doing fast food, which is done to order to ensure I had no loss. Little did I know that my deep freezer would go out during a storm and cause everything in it to rot. That has been my biggest setback since I started this venture."
Knowing too well, from the teachings of her parents, that setbacks would be faced when running a business, Bent could not cry over spilt milk for an extended period. She knew that she had to think of what to do next.
"October was a success. I spent most of my life in Hatfield at my family home with my mom, aunts, and cousins. My childhood was fun, lots of talent showcase with the family, especially during summers when other cousins would visit. We created singing groups, dancing groups, and we did some modelling. I want the ambience of my business to be calm yet fun and a true getaway for those who come."
She continued: "Lunch Tree is also located where the monument of my late but great uncle Garnet 'Silk' Smith is at 3 Wards Park, Hatfield District, and currently does lunch orders and catering. Lunch menus are posted on our Instagram and Facebook pages, and you may call (876) 440-6512."
With a grand cook-out and 'Cravings Sunday' scheduled for December 10, Bent is hopeful that Lunch Tree will, in the future, have different locations islandwide.
"In addition to the success of Lunch Tree, I'm still thinking about starting that preschool ... I am driven by the ideas and dreams inside my head, and I won't stop until it all comes to life by the will of God," she ended.