Pandemic can’t keep Lincoln Gordon down
A number of small and medium-sized businesses have been forced to downsize or close operations altogether as a result of the pandemic, while others, depending on the products or services they offer, have been thriving, albeit unexpectedly.
The latter is true for the family owned Lincoln Gordon and Son’s Limited located in Summerfield, Clarendon. Over the last 10 years the Gordons have perfected the art of processing a variety of spices, sauces, teas and cereals.
“We have managed to survive as a small business during the pandemic, and have seen an increase in the demand for our products,” said Gordon, who also has products on shelves in some of the leading supermarkets locally. “We have since gotten offers from United States, Canada and England where wholesalers in these countries are requesting our products. However, that is a challenge as even though our products meet the local Bureau of Standards requirements, we also have to meet the requirements of the United States Food and Drug Administration and get the necessary approval before we can be allowed to enter those markets,” he said, noting that the paperwork has started.
An engineer by profession, Gordon said he got into processing by default. “It’s nothing that I’ve done before, we didn’t copy anyone else’s product, it just came. It started when I was running a jerk centre and I developed a sauce to help me sell the jerk and it took off, then people began asking what else did we have and, of course, we didn’t have anything else but then I thought that if I can make wet stuff [sauce], then I can make dry stuff [powdered seasoning and spices], so we moved to the dry stuff. We listened to our customers and that caused us to develop other things and here we are a decade later — eyeing the export market,” he said.
Funding has always been a major challenge for small enterprises and this family owned business has seen its fair share. “There are areas where if we had the money how we want to, we could push these orders at a pace where we could take advantage of the market. In other words, we could be sorting out various things at the same time rather than doing one at a time,” he lamented. “I’m not sure if we have exhausted all our possibilities, but Jamaica National Bank has a done a lot for us over the years and still is, and we applaud them for assisting us.”
The possibility of expanding the production line is not far-fetched but Gordon says he has to be careful so as not to run the business into the ground because putting in infrastructure without a big contract may be unwise, especially in a pandemic.
Given the uncertainty currently overshadowing agricultural produce on the local market, Gordon said that for the moment there are enough raw materials to supply the local demand. “We have most things, but there are periods of time when some things are available and some are not, so if we have certain amount [of] cash we could purchase and store the raw materials that we wouldn’t be able source in a few months.”
Gordon credits Government’s increase of the General Consumption Tax threshold in part for his business surviving to this point as well as his burning passion for what he does. “You need to love what you do, let it be your driving force, and that will fuel your desire for constantly wanting your business to be successful,” he said.
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