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Domino's Pizza is set for expansion and remodeling this year as the parent company looks to enhance the customer experience. For the Cable Beach location, AML Foods will double its size and create a "pizza theatre" feature, whereby customers can actually watch the cooks prepare their pie.
Despite the decision of restaurant chain Sbarro to file for bankruptcy this week in the United States, and business in The Bahamas dropping by 50 percent over the past five years, sales at the local restaurants are looking up, according to the brand's Managing Director Charlton Knowles.
He confirmed to Guardian Business that sales "have been climbing every month" within the last year for the company.
"While it's unfortunate what's happening in the U.S., that will not impact our business in any way here in The Bahamas," he explained.
"Sales have been encouraging but it's not definitely at the levels they were prior to the recession. We're still a long way from achieving those numbers.
Between 2008 and 2013, sales dropped by about 50 percent. But now, we are starting to see sales climb back up. It has been gradually going up from year to year. From 2013 to 2014, sales are coming back. For us, sales have been climbing every month since the new board of directors was put in place a year ago."
Knowles believes a full economic turnaround for the pizza eatery will depend on the success of the multibillion-dollar Baha Mar project, the impact it will have on the Bahamian economy and the access that travelers will have to disposable income.
On Monday, Sbarro filed for Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection. According to court filings, the pizza chain and its affiliates have between $100 million and $500 million in debt. It is the second time the company has filed for bankruptcy in less than three years. Sbarro had filed back in 2011 and was working its way out of debt.
The franchise has four locations locally: Downtown, in the Mall at Marathon, on Cable Beach and Carmichael Road, with 68 employees.
"Our company is a separate holding company from the U.S. chain," he said.
"We're not affected by what's going on at the Sbarro corporation. That's a U.S. affair and not a Bahamian affair. Now had we had been corporate owned like the one in the U.S., their operations would have impacted us here in The Bahamas. But that's not the case because we are operating independently."
Sbarro, including franchises, has more than 1,000 locations in 45 countries. The chain opened its first location in Brooklyn in 1956.
Who would have ever thought that the day would come when I would get excited about a Subway store. I certainly never thought I would, but I certainly did when I recently visited the newest store on the island located on Charlotte Street, north.
Actually a few weeks ago, an advertisement in the newspapers for their turkey avocado and bacon sandwich caught my attention, but of course, the problem was the store was downtown, and thoughts of where I would park in the middle of the day to get it had to be factored in. But still, that sandwich is one of the sandwiches of my dreams -- sweet, buttery avocado on moist delicious turkey with a few strips of salty bacon thrown in for good measure - what could possibly be better?
Salt -- it makes all foods taste really good, including a little sprinkle on slices of cantaloupe melon to bring out the sweetness -- and most people use it quite liberally. Actually most Bahamians intake more sodium [salt] than is recommended for a healthy diet, and that could lead to serious health problems, according to a family medical practitioner. Dr. Patrick Whitfield says too much sodium increases a person's risk for high blood pressure and that he said often leads to heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Whitfield, who practices out of the Oxford Medical Center, says heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and kidney failure are outcomes of high blood pressure and that collectively it has an enormous impact on premature death and disability in Bahamians.
"Most people eat on average about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day. The United States dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon) per day and recommends that about six in 10 adults -- people who are 51 years or older, people with high blood pressure in all age groups, people with diabetes and people with chronic kidney disease -- should further limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day [about two-thirds of a teaspoon]," said Dr. Whitfield.
According to the doctor, the amounts listed are upper limits and less is usually best, even though the body does need some sodium to help it to function properly. Sodium helps to maintain the right balance of fluids in the body, helps transmit nerve impulses and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
He said most Bahamians can benefit from reducing their sodium intake, and they can do so by eating more fresh foods, opting for low-sodium products, removing salt from recipes whenever possible, limiting the use of sodium-laden condiments, using herbs, spices and other flavorings to season foods and using salt substitutes wisely.
According to Dr. Whitfield, most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods and foods prepared in restaurants, and that as salt is already part of the processed foods it cannot be removed.
He encourages people who want to control their sodium intake to be savvy shoppers, and know which foods to limit or avoid such as fast food cheeseburgers, barbecued ribs and chicken, dairy products such as cottage cheese, canned soups, and sauces (soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, mustard, pickles and olives which he said can add a lot of salt to food), nuts and vegetables. Snacks such as pretzels and chips he said should also be limited or avoided. Flour-based products such as bread, bagels, bakery items like pies and cookies he said should be consumed in moderation. Pizza and deli meats, frozen dinners and vegetable juices he also said should be limited.
The doctor encouraged people to enjoy more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. And he encouraged the consumption of more whole grain products like fish, poultry and nuts. An alternative to salt he said is to add spices, herbs and pepper as an alternative to perk up the flavor of foods.
"When shopping, people should look to purchase fresh, frozen or canned vegetables without added salt most often."
He also encourages people to read nutrition labels and compare the amount of sodium in the processed food like frozen dinners, packaged mixes, cereals, breads, soups, salad dressing and sauces, as the amount in different types and brands vary widely. He said people should look for labels that read low sodium or no sodium.
A rundown on common sodium claims, according to the mayoclinic.com shows that sodium-free or salt free means that each serving of a product contains less than 5 milligrams of sodium. Very low sodium means each serving contains 35 milligrams of sodium or less. Reduced or less sodium means the product contains at least 25 percent less sodium than the regular version. Lite or light in sodium means the sodium content has been reduced by at least 50 percent from the regular version, and unsalted or no salt added means that no salt is added during the processing of a food that normally contains salt.
When eating out, Dr. Whitfield encourages people to choose plain foods like grilled or roasted entrees, baked potatoes and salad with oil and vinegar. He said batter-fried foods and combination dishes like stews or pasta with sauce tend to be high in salt.
As salt is an acquired taste, the doctor said people can learn to enjoy less. And that their taste buds will adjust as they decrease their use of salt gradually. After a few weeks of cutting back on salt, he says you probably won't miss it, and some foods may even taste too salty.
It has been one of the most anticipated events on the calendar for 69 years, and in year 70, it's still going strong, as the annual Red Cross Fair offers something for everyone. The fair which is held on the Lower Gardens of the Government House Grounds on Saturday, March 3, is considered the hallmark of true family fun.
At the fair, you can get your fill of the tastiest delicacies like conch salad, conch fritters, crab and rice and fried fish to treats like cotton candy, hotdogs, hamburgers and ice cream. This year, Domino's Pizza and Bamboo Shack will also hawk their wares from stalls at this iconic fair. The Chinese, Filipinos and Jamaicans will also sell food from their countries for people that just want something a little different. Of course, tarts, cakes, cookies and duffs of all sorts are always the order of the day when it's a Bahamian affair.
Eating is only half of the fun. With activities like hoopla, dominoes for those people that just love to slap the ivories, punch board and grab bags holding hidden prizes and the chance to shoot hoops, there is an activity for everyone.
To keep the little ones happy, an elaborate kiddie's corner will be set up. There they can engage in arts and crafts, a treasure hunt, blow up balloons, karaoke, get their faces painted and enjoy the puppet shows. A haunted house and rides like Dixie Twister, Rock Wall and Super Slide will make the older kids happier.
For the fickle teens and the young-at-heart, a "young people's disco" with DJ Fines will also be another big highlight of the evening as it has been in years past.
With displays of crafts, books, plants and other things, the Red Cross Fair will have it all. Even the chance to check up on your health, with nurses doing free blood pressure and glucose level checks throughout the day.
And of course, a Bahamian affair would not be complete with musical entertainment. The Police Pop Band and Prison Pop Band, Dillion McKenzie and Terez Hepburn will light up the fair as only Bahamian musicians can. And a rushout by the Shell Saxon Superstars will simply seal the deal.
"No one will be left out. This is truly the perfect family occasion," said Pauline Allen-Dean, the fair's chairperson who said there will be no end to the amount of fun and entertainment that will be available this weekend.
In an effort to make the Red Cross Fair a truly Bahamian affair, it is being held this year under the theme "Celebrating Our Family of Islands Together for Humanity", which will not just serve as the theme for the event, but also act as a source of creativity for the annual booth decoration competition. All booths are encouraged to choose a Family Island and design their booth to complement the things that island is famous for.
"We want this year's fair to be a true representation of The Bahamas," said Allen-Dean. "We wanted to pay homage to the Red Cross posts throughout the islands, as well as show thankfulness for those who send us supplies to keep this fair going annually. They may not be coming, but the stations and concerned individuals send things for us because they know it will be a big help to make this event a success."
Shannise Nairn, 34, is excited to attend the event which has been her family's tradition to attend since she was a toddler. She couldn't imagine not attending the fair.
"The Red Cross Fair is the 'it' thing for me and my family. It is so much fun and I have been attending it since I was a child. This is something my grandmother remembers attending and taking my mom and uncles to. She tells me stories about it and every year she still goes out to it even though she's in a wheelchair now. This is a true Bahamian tradition and people need to come out. It's not only fun, but it's the great way to give back to the community at large since the funds from the fair go to the Red Cross at the end of the day."
Red Cross Fair
When: Saturday, March 3
Where: Lower Gardens, Government House Grounds
Time: 12 noon - until
Admission: $2 adults, $1 children
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The smell of the sea fusing with wood-fire grilled Mahi-Mahi, Mediterranean and Bahamian flavours permeating from the kitchen and spectacular ocean views just footsteps from the surf will all provide a sensational culinary experience at Palm Cay in the coming weeks.
Celebrated chef Lise Russell and veteran restaurateur Peter Rounce are teaming up to add Billfish Grill to the island's diverse restaurant scene by mid-December and with the ocean on one side and a 194-slip marina on the other, the stately tropical styled eatery's ambiance and menu are competing to be the main attraction.
"Our goal is to combine the natural beauty of Palm Cay with fusion cuisine, so the overall culinary experience is as much about the atmosphere as it is about the food," said Chef Russell. "My cuisine isn't typical so it's hard to put a label on it. Billfish Grill will feature Bahamian flavours in a non-traditional Bahamian way, pairing sweet and savory mixes and the menu will constantly evolve with the seasons to ensure we're getting the freshest of what is available in each season."
Tapas-type appetizers like "Smoke-n-Sweet" (dates stuffed with goat cheese, oranges and almonds wrapped in bacon) and "Black-n-Blue" (baguettes topped with homemade blue cheese spread, beef tenderloin and caramelized mushrooms, onions and tomatoes) are served to share with the table. A wood-fire oven will be installed to prepare a combination of pizzas, burgers and high-end dishes with the highest quality of all natural meats.
As the name suggests, seafood will be a main feature with a unique "Catch-n-Cook" offering so fisherman or guests can bring in their fresh catch and have the chef prepare the dish for them.
One local entrepreneur has turned her passion for music into a moneymaking venture with the launch of the marketing firm eSounds Marketing.
Bahamian songwriter, producer and musician Margaret "Believe" Glynatsis, is best known for being part of the rap duo NCity with Chrystal "Skyy" Moncur.
However, she revealed to Guardian Business in this week's edition of "Da Plunge" that her love for music led her to open eSounds Marketing.
"Through my music, I got into producing one or two radio jingles, which I found to be exciting. That experience has led me to explore the marketing side of music," according to Glynatsis."Over the years, I have seen the lack of quality and creative approach in local jingle production. I just started working with more companies and found a way to make a business out of my passion."
Before launching eSounds Marketing five months ago, Glynatsis noted that she did freelance work to build up her clientele, which includes some of the nation's most reputable companies and franchises such as the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), John Bull, Marco's Pizza, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), Fidelity Bank and Scotiabank.
She explained that the company's clientele ranges from small, start-up businesses to major corporate entities, as it produces radio ads, jingles, TV commercials and assists in developing internet-based marketing strategies for businesses.
The eSounds Marketing owner admitted to Guardian Business that she has invested little into the company so far, as she already had a full-fledged studio.
To date, she has invested approximately $3,000 to get the company up and running.
"Depending on the size of the project, I have part-time employees. Some projects are really small and I can handle them myself. But we have done larger video productions like a play for the Meridian School that was held at the Rainforest Theatre. Most of the video campaigning ads for the DNA were produced by eSounds," Glynatsis shared.
Glynatsis stressed the importance for Bahamians to create their own industries so the country's economy could be diversified.
In addition to The Bahamas, Glynatsis is looking to expand her brand throughout the region and the international market.
"Three months ago, we were approached by Veal-Steen Music Publishing, a company based out of Melbourne, Florida. They were interested in distributing my personal song catalog and the business I do with eSounds in terms of actually getting placements, so I am really looking forward to that," she added.
"Right now, we are exploring and looking to bring a lot of opportunities not only for eSounds but for The Bahamas as well. It will undoubtedly bring exposure as everything that we do is 100 percent Bahamian, from the artists we work with to the actual production itself. I am looking to not only bring exposure but also create more job opportunities."
Veal-Steen Music Publishing, a division of LGN Entertainment Distribution Inc., is a premier independent music publisher, licensee, royalty collector, publishing administrator, and music placement company and manages a portfolio of over 3,000 song copyrights spanning from all genres of popular music.
She hopes that eSounds Marketing will not only help to develop businesses from an advertising stand point, but assist in maintaining them.
Glynatsis continued: "Ideally, I would like for it to be one of the major companies not only in The Bahamas but also in the Caribbean. That can also float over internationally whether it's the United States or the United Kingdom, I think it's quite possible. If we're capable of producing jingles or commercials for local corporate companies or franchises, why can't we do it for other Caribbean countries or internationally."
For the average distance runner, one goal is to compete in a half marathon and then eventually a full marathon, whether it's for his or her own personal gratification or just for a worthy cause. For the past three years, the Bahamas Roadmasters Club has provided both opportunities.
Now into its fourth year, the Roadmasters annual charity run is set for Saturday, September 17 and the interest is brewing from a cross section of the society. Last year, the proceeds went to the Pilot Club of Nassau in their quest to build a pool for the Physically Disabled. Previously, the Aids Foundation and the Aids Camp were among the beneficiaries. This year, Bahamas Roadmasters' goal is to raise at least $10,000 to assist the Ranfurly Home for Children.
The club, founded by president George Smith and others, provides an avenue for Bahamians to develop their dreams of being marathon runners. It also catered to those members who were primarily interested in losing weight or just improving their physical conditioning.
Kimley Saunders, chairman of the organizing committee for the run, said they are opening doors for so many other Bahamians to participate because of the charity aspects attached to the event. Although it's not a full or even a half marathon, the run features a number of aspects that will cater to just about every causal or competitive runner, from a five-mile run or walk from Montagu Beach to Charlotte Street and back.
There's also a 10-mile run/walk that leaves Montagu Beach and travels all the way to Goodman's Bay and back. If a participant dares to be more adventurous, there's the 20-mile run that leaves Montagu Beach and travels all the way to Blake Road and back to Montagu. Additionally, there's also the 20-mile uniformed officers relay that already has a team from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), two from Her Majesty Prison and three from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) signed up to compete. There is also an open relay.
For those doing the 20-mile run, the start time is 4:30 a.m. The five and 10-mile races will begin an hour later at 5:30 a.m.
Saunders noted: "We hope to have at least 150-200 participants or more and that everyone will have fun and enjoy themselves and at the same time support the Ranfurly Home. We hope that we can raise the $10,000 or more that we are anticipating to raise for the Ranfurly Home."
In July, 2009, Angela 'Grandmother' Rahming decided to increase her mobility by moving up from walking to running. She did her first charity run two years ago and returned for her second appearance last year. This year, however, Rahming has decided to work closely with the organizing committee. She serves as the assistant secretary, but she said she was so inspired by her ability to "complete the run" without any problems that she's made it her goal to encourage others to get involved.
"It can be for anybody," she insisted. "You don't have to worry about keeping up with anybody. As long as you are consistent, you can finish. Every day you go out, you can add your mileage. Being consistent is the key."
Through her new found love, the actual 'grandmother' of one said a lot of the members were taken aback when she started, but she never allowed anyone to discourage her. In fact, they are all in awe of her achievement in just three years. Last year, Rahming participated in her first half marathon on January 31 at the ING in Miami. Her nephew, who lives in Florida, was so thrilled about her commitment and dedication, that he decided to join her.
With the support of her daughter, grandson, sister and niece on the sideline cheering her on, Rahming completed the course in three hours and 10 minutes.
"For me, that was good, really good. Obviously, it's not elite running time, but for me it was super," she quipped.
That has led to Rahming making strides in a series of other events. In October, she did a half marathon on a Saturday in Washington and on Sunday, the following week, she did her first full marathon. In April, Rahming duplicated the feat when she ran the Kentucky Derby, then drove back to Ohio and did a half marathon.
"I didn't tell anybody in the club that I was going. I just went with another friend," she stated. "They were all surprised that I did it."
Although it was a new event last year, the RBDF has dominated the relay competition and this year, sports officer Ramone Storr said the Defence Force will be back to do it again.
"I guarantee a repeat in the relays," said Storr of their dominance of the first, second, third and fifth place finishes. "We have a couple solid young fellas in training and on the squad now, so I guarantee we will repeat with the relays."
Known for their athletic prowess, Storr said the Defence Force is always capable and ready.
"This road race will just showcase our talent," he pointed out. "We really are in it because we want to do to our part to assist with charity."
For a registration fee of just $20, each participate will receive a T-shirt, Eco friendly bag, a water bottle and free food - stew conch, chicken souse, Johnny cake, fruits - Gatorade, juice and water. A number of prizes will be offered, including tickets on the Bahamas Fast Ferries, dinner for two at British Colonial Hilton and gift certificates from the Sports Centre, Mystical Gym, Lickety Split, Dominos Pizza and a full body massage from International Orthopedics.
Registration sites are the Palmdale Vision, the Reef Restaurant and the Ranfurly Home for Children.
Ask anyone to list the Bahamian institutions licensed by the Ministry of Education to grant associates and bachelors level degrees and see how many will mention Atlantic College.
Even with notable graduates and about a thousand Bahamians benefitting from Atlantic's education and training programs since its 1995 rebranding, the college continues on quietly and unrecognized by many - a situation its Dean of Academic Affairs wants to change.
The institution can trace its roots to 1939, and hundreds if not thousands of commuters heading to and from downtown pass by it every day.
It's located on Hay Street, just off East Street North in the heart of Nassau.
"This little light needs to shine, and shine brightly now," Dr. Diane Major said, the Dean of Academic Affairs. "The country needs us."
She and the college's president, Rev. Dr. R. E. Cooper, spoke with Guardian Business from the adjacent Mission Baptist Church office. Their discussion moving seamlessly from education to compassion, from training to urban development, and from self-improvement to nation building.
The college, they said, plays a unique role in The Bahamas - creating access to a quality education and training from an institution that cares about the success of each of its students. This goal is something Major said is summed up in the college's motto: "The college at the heart of the nation with the nation at it's heart."
"There's a difference here," Major said, mentioning that she has been part of other post-secondary institutes and can make that statement from first-hand experience.
"We have a call, a commission, a compassion, a spirit for the people of the nation. We're not just a business, like many of the others might be. This is a mission."
Major Atlantic College is the most affordable fully recognized associates programs available to Bahamians. With its physical presence in the inner-city and the accessibility, it offers programs and opportunities to so many people from all walks of life. Cooper said the college opens its doors to everyone.
"People see us as that ray of hope when it comes to academics, affording them an opportunity to improve their qualitative skills in a setting that is convenient, accessible and provides that inspiration for learning - that also offers them an opportunity to study in a caring environment with hands on training/instruction, providing students with the opportunity to strategically feel a part of the learning process, where they are essentially given an opportunity to aspire for the best. Not as a number, but as a person," the president said.
Atlantic's initial programs were geared toward Christian studies, offering bachelor's degrees in several related areas. Since 1999, however, it has expanded to include programs in computer information technology, business administration, criminal justice, financial services, psychology and several other fields.
Associates degrees are available from the liberal arts college for popular business, computer and criminal justice tracks. It also offers specialized certificate courses that can be tailored to the students' needs.
Major said that many women are upgrading their skill levels and employability by taking advantage of early-learning and classroom management training offered through the college, for example.
The business community is a beneficiary of Atlantic's training efforts as well.
Major said that Domino's Pizza recently sent 18 mid-level managers there for a customer-service training certificate program.
In a time of continued financial restraint as the national economy struggles to shake off the recent recession, Bahamian businesses may find Atlantic an affordable answer to some of their training needs - while the college itself has not been immune to tightened purses across the nation. The college is reaching out to the business community for support during these times, according to Major, including a local PR firm, Di Philips & Associates, to help get its message out.
"To say we need sponsorships would be a small thing to say, because in a big way, we do. We need help - what school, what mission doesn't need help?" Major said. "We need support so we have begun to reach out."
In the past, response from corporate Bahamas has been minimal. Major added that the college has had "just a little".
Cooper mentioned several prominent Bahamians who have come through Atlantic's programs, listing Sherwin Hall, deputy permanent secretary at parliamentary registration department, John Rolle, the retired deputy commissioner of police and Errol Farquharson, a senior police officer.