Boucher Bar HQ boosting Newlands
From as far back as he can remember, Raymond Boucher has always wanted to be an entrepreneur, like his father.
The Royal Flat, Manchester native wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father who owned various businesses, including a bar. That was the area the young Raymond wanted to emulate.
"Mi start bar when bar a use icebox, not fridge," he laughed, noting he's had bars as far as St Elizabeth and Clarendon.
His first bar was in Tower Hill, St Andrew, when he was barely 20. But his flagship is Boucher Bar HQ in Newlands, Portmore. It's been going for 15 years.
Boucher has a distinct affinity for the Newlands community. His current bar is the fourth entertainment venue he's had in the area over the last 29 years.
"Mi nuh have no issue with the people, none with the youth dem. Inna my place you can sit down til daylight. Yuh nuh have to look behind or worry at all, no matter how dem give Newlands bad name," he said.
Strategically located on the same venue is the Melting Pot restaurant (run by his wife Jasmine), a car wash and technician's shop. It's a literal one-stop venue.
SIDDUNG AND RELAX
"A years mi a come yah," said Jeremiah Treasure. "When you come Boucher Bar, you can just siddung and relax, drink a beer while yuh a get yuh car wash; jus relax and easy."
Boucher always find a way to integrate the community into his businesses, whether by employing residents or hosting events that cater to them.
One example is Unique Tuesdays, held every week for youth in the community to show their talents.
"It's a thing I've been doing for years. Every location I go, I keep talent shows to unite the youth, so it kinda keep the community a way," he said. "Me a di only man inna di community that can reach out to the youth dem."
His clientele includes those keeping the peace, and those just looking for peace and quiet. He has more than a few regulars from outside the municipality as well. People keep coming back for the laid-back feeling they get at Boucher Bar HQ.
"I believe in living lovingly and that is what you get over here. That's why I don't employ people who can't rap with the customers. Dem mus' can run likkle joke wid dem," he said. "In bar work, you have to welcome every customer, make them feel at home."
Interestingly, he said Monday night is his best night, a trend he admits he is still trying to figure out.
Always planning, Boucher intends to introduce weekend bingo parties to the venue, increasing the fun factor for the community.
"Cause this is an area that is gifted with that (playing bingo)," he joked.