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March 26, 2014
Star News


Carleen Campbell-Blair making strides with JNSBL

Carleen Campbell-Blair

Almost 23 years ago, Carleen Campbell-Blair quit her job as a cook at a fast-food restaurant to start her own business.

At the time, she had only $3,500 which she used to buy items of clothing, toiletries and other accessories to put in her shop in the May Pen Market. After taking that bold step in October 1991, Campbell-Blair operates three small businesses at separate locations in May Pen.

The 50-year-old mother of three admitted her time as a small business operator has not been easy. From monitoring a clothes store in the market, or her flowers store in Newcastle Plaza, as well as a bridal shop in Bargain Village, Campbell-Blair said she has been able to survive because she keeps her businesses separate.

"Yes, I have three distinct businesses. Here (Angels Bridal store at Bargain Village) deals with weddings. I have the clothes store at the market and the flowers store has wholesale flowers and wreaths. I differentiate the businesses," she said.

"If I borrow from Flower Superstore for Angels Bridal, then Angel Bridal will have to pay back Flower Superstore."

Campbell-Blair's businesses employ five persons and she is actively trying to hire another. The sluggish economy has forced her to become savvy when it comes to gauging customers' needs.

"You have to be smart," she explained. "You have to work with the season. I have to work with graduation in order to get money to pay my bills and buy goods. I have to work with Valentine's in order to catch up with stiff January. So, you have to work with the seasons to survive."

Campbell-Blair ventures, however, would not have been possible had it not been for JN Small Business Loans. She was introduced to JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) in 2000 and has been a beneficiary since.

Philip Bernard, general manager, JNSBL, commended Campbell-Blair for her hard work and dedication to entrepreneurship.

"Her spirit and desire to do well represent the type of vision and commitment to quality that we want to see. We have enjoyed a good relationship with her over the years, and we look forward to continue working with her to growing her businesses," Bernard said.

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