By : Lorna Smithen – Bussue
CHARLESTOWN (June 23, 2016) Small business Entrepreneur, Mr. Donald Hendrickson, owner and director of Island Moldings, located at Prospect Industrial Site, produces crafted woodwork items, which are thought by many, to signal the beginning of a new era of woodwork technology on the island of Nevis.
Hendrickson, son of the soil, is considered by business counterparts, to personify that “personal entrepreneurship” mentioned by Premier of Nevis, Hon Vance Amory in his delivery of the Budget Address for 2016.
“One of the most important aspects of the economy of Nevis is the proliferation of small businesses. The sector continues to encourage personal entrepreneurship and independence while steadily creating meaningful employment” says Premier Amory
Hendrickson’s entrepreneurial ingenuity arose from humble beginnings. He started his career as a gardener, then he became a block maker, then a roofer. He recounts while working on roofing, he paid attention to other features of the building such as windows and doors. He soon realized that these imported products could be produced locally. Hence the seed was sown for the beginning of an enterprise.
His love for woodwork and the realization that this was an avenue worth exploiting, led him to seek assistance for training in this skill from the Nevis Island Administration. Although unsuccessful in securing the help which he sought, he was nonetheless undaunted in the pursuit of the profession of his dream.
Hendrickson deemed it an intervention by God when he received financial assistance from the Bank of Nevis. In his opinion he did not have the collateral necessary to guarantee a loan based on the magnitude of such a project.
“I decided that I wanted to build but I only had $15000 in my name. Bank of Nevis was there to support us in terms of Mr. Isaac who was then the manager. For some reason he had believed in us” he said.
Today Hendrickson specializes in a wide range of woodwork products such as moldings, windows and doors. He believes that business is just an idea but through hard work and tenacity, the idea can be conceptualized. His personal motto “You can do anything if you try and keep trying” arose from the idea of starting a woodwork business.
In an effort to promote efficiency and sustainability in his profession, Hendrickson meticulously selects his equipment which he views as benchmarks in the enhancement and development of his craftsmanship. He expressed pride in being contracted by Kittitian Hill, a luxury Resort in St. Kitts, to make all its windows and doors. He is of the opinion that no other company in St. Kitts and Nevis would have been able to do a project of such dimension.
“It’s not all about the money but I am really proud that it is something that we can do. When I walk in Kittitian Hill and I look and I say that these were locally made. We were able to make these in Nevis. I think that speaks well of Nevis” he said.
Hendrickson projects his company as motivational not only to other companies but to young people as well. As a visionary he hopes to set the stage for woodwork in Nevis and demonstrates his business acumen through dialogue with the Department of Education and the Principal of Charlestown Secondary School on providing internship opportunities.
“When the young people come I would like to share with them that business is just an idea. I would like to see them come to a point where they could actually make a dressing table, not just bring them in for the excitement, but I want them when they leave here, they can say I can make a table, I can make a bed that is what I want.”
The economy of St. Kitts and Nevis is not the only beneficiary of Hendrickson’s woodwork products. Regionally, countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, St. Thomas and Tortola also enjoy economic benefits through importation of his products. According to Hendrickson, his main business strategy is” keeping quality”. He also employs various advertising strategies which have led to international ratings from Indonesia.
Hendrickson, supplier for Horsford and St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla Trading and Development Co. Ltd. (TDC)) has supplied the latter with moldings for the past 15years. These local companies and other business entrepreneurs have expressed their satisfaction with the quality of products from Island Moldings.
Supervisor of TDC Home and Building Depot in Nevis, Mr. Clyde Smithen said the business relationship between his company and Island Molding has been in existence for approximately 15 years and his company continues to carry his products based on his excellent quality. He further said, the company has not received any negative feedbacks from its consumers and express satisfaction in Hendrickson’s ability to meet TDC demand for his product.
Meanwhile, local contractor, Stedroy Pemberton said he has patronized Hendrickson’s business from its inception. He said he usually go to the workshop to observe the employees at work and based on the excellent craftsmanship, he has chosen Island Moldings as his supplier of doors, windows and spiral steps.