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Sachi Shitara drives the Toyota Ja Cafe

Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMRandy Bowman
Origami expert and business development consultant with Toyota Jamaica Limited Sachi Shitara shows off her paper bag made just for persons on the go.
A closer look at the paper bags issued at the Toyota Jamaica Café.

Five years ago, Sachi Shitara came to Jamaica as an employee of the Japan Embassy based in Jamaica. She loved it here and decided to find a reason to stay after her 'term' ended.

"I was shocked and happy to find out UWI (University of the West Indies) offered a master's programme in heritage studies, and I applied," shared Shitara.

Two years later, Shitara became the business development consultant at Toyota Jamaica, a job she thoroughly enjoys.

In February, Toyota Jamaica opened a spanking new location on Old Hope Road to better facilitate its growing clientele. Being the out-of-the-box thinker she is and her job assignments, Shitara's office got a new home, this time behind the counter of the environmentally friendly Toyota Jamaica Cafe.

Like most things, she puts her hands to, within months, the cafe started to brew up some steaming reviews. Opened 8 to 5 on weekdays and 10 to 2 on Saturdays, the clients of the car company were pleased to enjoy warm pastry and authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee or natural teas, to name a few.

Shitara knew she had to equip herself for the new portfolio given and flew to the United States for a few months for formal barista training.

But the enthused young woman returned to the island with more than just documents. She had an arsenal of ideas to stir things up at the cafe.

"I got the chance to experience coffee and tea blends of all kinds and I wanted to come back to Jamaica and share what I had learned. Jamaica has one of the best locally grown coffee and there are so many different ways to serve it," she said with glee.

From pumpkin spice lattes to hibiscus berry teas, Shitara takes pride in all the products of the cafÈ, down to the bag given to take-out patrons. The bags, made from The Gleaner newsprint are displayed after being carefully put together to ensure the Toyota Jamaica ads or a uplifting headline is there for all to see.

With a background in origami and knack for DIYs, it was like second nature for Shitara, who often surprises the clients with the bags. On a few occasions, persons have expressed an interest in buying just the bags that aptly display uplifting messages via the published headlines.

As enthused as she was five years ago about Jamaica, Shitara is excited to continue her drive in making her given portfolio one that leaves a lasting trail.