Call To The Bar : Hype Zone HQ, the place to be
Boys excitedly playing pool and men dropping six-love in a game of dominoes is a familiar sight at Hype Zone HQ in St Mary.
The chill spot got its name from its owner Janice 'Ms Hype' Foster, who says "it was the place to be". And it still is.
"There were many shops in the area at the time, but when I opened this bar, there was only one other across the street," she said.
Foster's mother, Norma, had one of those shops. But when she closed hers, Foster, who worked in bars before, decided to refurbish it and go into business for herself.
That was in 2006, and even she is surprised that she's been going for over a decade.
"It's hard sometimes, but most times it's fun. Sometimes you have difficult customers, but overall it's alright," she said. "Sometimes I've been down, way down. But it has sent one of my kids to university, so I surprised myself."
Foster was born in Kingston but has deep roots in St Mary, where she was also raised.
The bar is located along the main road in Broadgate, just as you exit the winding Junction corridor that links St Mary to St Andrew.
Many a driver needs a little 'top up' after this journey, so it's no surprise Foster says passers-by make up the majority of her clientele.
The aforementioned pool table is a relatively new addition, being set up a few months ago.
ATTRACTING THE YOUTH
"It attracts a lot of people, especially the young boys. They even want to play in the nights, but I send them home by 8 p.m." she laughed.
Foster is now thinking about having community pool tournaments to keep the positive vibe going.
She said every day is a good one, especially as the sun goes down and persons look to relax after the tough workday.
But Saturdays see more activity in the sunshine hours, as persons come out sooner to kick back and relax.
Foster said she has a great relationship with J. Wray and Nephew, as the company's sales representatives have been very good to her over the years.
"Dem don't pass by without stopping and checking up on me and see how I'm doing. They're always doing promotions, and sometimes they come just in time," she said.
Foster is currently expanding Hype Zone, adding a section to be used exclusively for gaming machine aficionados. This, she reasons, will free up more space by the bar area for customers who prefer the cosy indoors.
Trucks and other heavy vehicles frequently rumble by, but it's not a worry for Foster.
"Most of the time we're playing music and all that, so it doesn't bother us. It's good here, and I'm not complaining," she smiled.