Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Self-starter assisting customers during COVID-19 crisis

Published:Sunday | November 29, 2020 | 12:14 AMGareth Davis - Senior Gleaner Writer
Derron Fisher at his business place in Prospect Land Settlement, Portland.
Derron Fisher at his business place in Prospect Land Settlement, Portland.

PROSPECT, EAST PORTLAND:

When Derron Fisher returned to Jamaica in 2012, after a brief stint on the government overseas farm work programme in Canada, he decided to take up a new occupation – one that was sustainable and would provide him with a sense of independence.

Now reaping success, thanks to strong customer support, he has launched an initiative to help his loyal customers facing hard times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dream of becoming a businessman was triggered and influenced by an old man he spotted cutting the lawns of several community residents, which made Fisher rethink his future, as he was employed at a supermarket earning the basic minimum wage.

Fisher recounted that back then he decided that he would not grow old while working his heart out at a supermarket, but instead wanted and expected more out of life. And that was when he quit his supermarket job as a bag packer, and started purchasing propane gas cylinders (cooking gas).

“I started out with four 30 pounds cylinders and did my own advertising,” he recounted.

“I met with a cooking gas company and did an interview. I outlined to them clearly that I wanted to sell gas in my community and they agreed to my request. I had a little two-wheel hand trolley, which I used to deliver gas cylinders throughout my community of Prospect Land Settlement (in Portland). I was getting the support from residents and soon after I purchased a bicycle, and I was able to do the delivery a lot easier.”

He continued, “As the years went by, I purchased seven motor bikes and created employment for youths in the area. The support that I receive from outside of my community is quite encouraging, which allows me to assist students with back-to-school treats, assist the elderly and the indigent, donate money and other resources to fire victims and those affected by flooding, and provide assistance to the less fortunate through a charity group, Change A Life Foundation (CALF).”

KEEPING CHRISTMAS TREAT

The 32-year-old businessman and proud member of CALF pointed out that his business was seriously impacted by COVID-19, as many of his customers were unable to purchase cooking gas, as their normal remittance from overseas was very limited during the months of April, May, June, July and August because of the impact of the pandemic.

“I regard my customers as family, and as such I decided that I would offer a line of credit to them, with the understanding that once money from overseas is collected, the accounts will be settled. Yes, I had obligations and other responsibilities, but it was a tough period for just about everyone. I knew deep down that I did the right thing and the right decision was made by me,” Fisher told The Sunday Gleaner.

“The festive season is upon us and CALF’s annual Christmas treat will be held. Of course, we will ensure that all the COVID-19 protocols are observed amid this pandemic. At my business place, everyone has to adhere to the protocols, including social distancing and the wearing of mask.”

He added, “When I decided to pursue the likelihood of a business, I did so without any hesitation. And today my gas business has risen from four cylinders to more than a thousand.”

Fisher, who is providing delivery service throughout Port Antonio and its environs, told The Sunday Gleaner that there was never any doubt in his mind that he was going to be a successful businessman, as he was driven by a passion to succeed.

“In life, you have to be successful like Muhammad Ali and forceful and determined like Mike Tyson. I am a jovial person and I am very positive in everything I do. I thank the people who have and continue to support me over the years,” he stated.

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