Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Settee maker seeks COVID cushion - Laments limited access to loans

Published:Monday | June 29, 2020 | 12:19 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer
The vehicle that Carter uses to transport the beds and settees that he manufactures at his Red Pond, St Catherine factory.
The vehicle that Carter uses to transport the beds and settees that he manufactures at his Red Pond, St Catherine factory.

Donovan Carter has cut and carved out a niche for himself in the settee-making industry for 27 years.

And even amid the slowdown of commerce sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, he still has a steely will to press ahead with his business, Unique Upholstery.

Carter’s Red Pond, St Catherine, factory produces beds and settees to walk-in retail customers and commercial interests like Singer Jamaica.

He admits that the rising cost of inputs like material and labour is a cause for concern, especially if he is to maintain high standards in a crowded marketplace.

“I am glad to be involved in my own production of fine Jamaican settees and beds,” said Carter.

“The work is continuous to supply the customers in this very competitive environment.”

Carter’s workforce of 13 involves carpenters, carvers, upholsterers, varnishers, drivers, and administrators. Unique manufactures about eight settees daily.

One of Carter’s bugbears is the lack of ease of access to loans, a refrain often heard from a chorus of investors and entrepreneurs in the micro, small, and medium-size enterprise sector. He has had to resort to ploughing much of his personal income back into the business.

But the veteran tradesman said that despite the difficulties of surviving in a tough economy, he was still committed to keeping his doors open.

“It is the love for self-management and the contribution to the development of the community that give me the sheer determination to continue,” Carter told The Gleaner.

“The feeling of seeing the finished product is next to no other joyous emotion.”