CALL TO THE BAR: Corner Stones bar firmly planted in Waterhouse
When a business has existed in a community for more than two decades, it becomes entrenched in the lives of the people. So Shante Gapour knew that when she took over Corner Stones Bar on Penwood Road in Waterhouse, she was taking over a legacy.
Her parents created and ran the popular spot but decided four years ago that it was time for her and her sister to take over the business. The sisters were always in and around the bar helping out whenever they could, often to good effect.
"Let's face it, no one wants to come into a bar and look at a man behind the counter," Gapour laughed. She decided to take the lead role when the transition was to take place.
"My sister is more the school type, and I am more of the entertainment type," said Gapour. "I think I get it more from my dad. My father has a sound system, and I would travel with him."
The adjoining cookshop, Mureen's Restaurant, also part of the family business, complements the bar nicely.
"People come and place their orders, and sometimes it takes a while, so they come over to the bar, have a drink, and then collect their food," she said.
Gapour would also help out in the restaurant but preferred the vibrancy of the bar area. Plus, "I couldn't take the heat of the kitchen," she laughed.
A former Miss Waterhouse, Gapour is completing entertainment and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, underlining her love for the sector.
But she admitted that she still needed to learn other aspects of the bar business once she took the reins.
"It was really rough at first because when I started, I had to restock the whole bar," she recalled.
But sponsors and friends helped out, and before long, the bar was running smoothly again.
"I was confident we would do well. People wanted to see it still flourish. The bar has been around for years, even people from foreign still come here," she said.
But even though the bar is famous, it seems there is a bar on every corner in the Corporate Area. So Gapour knows the key to success is to keep evolving.
"I'm always trying to do new stuff. I recently did a course in mixing cocktails because my friends like those things. So we're not just selling hard liquor," she said.
A keen businesswoman, Gapour knows how to keep customers happy. When the current FIFA World Cup began, bar patrons asked for a bigger TV on which to watch the games.
"I thought it was just going to be for the Brazil game, but they won't let it go," she laughed. The plan is for Corner Stones to go for years to come.
"We are reasonably priced. We are right on the main road, so it's easy access, and it's a secure bar. People love it," she said.