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Local shop owner supplying Holmwood with good stock

Published:Tuesday | March 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Lasmine Campbell at her shop in Sedburgh, Manchester. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

FROM BEHIND the counter of her very modest grocery shop in tiny Sedburgh, Manchester, Lasmine Campbell had one simple piece of advice to share with all Jamaicans.

"It is not how much you earn, it's how much you save," she said in her quiet, self-assured way.

For Lasmine, this is not just a slogan, it is a principle she has used to rear three girls, start her business and meet all her expenses, starting from a weekly salary of $1,200 ten years ago.

Here's the breakdown: $250 goes into a savings account that is not touched, $250 is used to buy groceries, $300 is stashed away to make up the rent at the end of the month and the rest used to pay for furniture she had on layaway and "throw mi padna a Workers' Bank".

"Me know say a dat me did a get so me just set me self fi it and pencil it out. Me no have life easy, you know," she said with a smile.

By 2004, Lasmine's salary had gone up to $2,700 per week, but her expenses had also increased.

By then, her savings had ballooned to a substantial amount and that's when she decided to go into business, while still holding on to her job.

Prime real estate

Las Restaurant and Grocery sits in the shadows of Holmwood Technical High School, almost directly in front of its playing field. This has turned out to be prime real estate whenever there is any kind of sporting activity there.

"Anything wha gwaan ova deh so," she said, pointing to the field, "me can tell a man fi lend me a money an come back fi it when it done."

When The Gleaner visited the clean, well-stocked shop, there was music blaring from a speaker box carefully placed in a corner.

Four bar stools sat before the counter and a domino table lay idle in the corner opposite the speaker box.

Campbell reached under the counter and turned the music down when the "juice truck" vendor walked in.

In a couple of days, Holmwood, fresh from its Girls' Champs triumph, will be holding their sports day and she wants to make sure she has enough juice in stock.

For all her achievements, Lasmine was clear that she would not even consider trading places with her Member of Parliament, Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

"No sah ... too much pressure. Dat too tough," she offered.

But as a word of advice, she went right back to what worked for her.

"Me woulda advise him fi plan and spend what him have carefully," she said.