Filling Niches–Two Tales Of Entrepreneurial Success In Paradise
“I’ll let my friends Bill and Jenny tell you the story of how they were able to check off their list their long-held dream of owning a resort in Belize,” writes Belize Correspondent Amma Carey.
“‘Starting a small inn in Belize has been a great adventure for my husband and me,’ explains Jenny. ‘It all started after finding our piece of paradise on the Caribbean Sea. Once we had our view, the rest fell into place.
“‘We were able to find a good local contractor for building our home, restaurant, and cabanas. His experienced crew knew how to work with the local building materials. Our cabanas are built as a local villager would build his home; comprised of a local hardwood planked floor, palmetto tree walls, and a thatched roof. “‘Coming from the States, we would have been lost trying to build this manner of structure on our own, but we had much help from the locals.
“‘Receiving our business license and approvals from the government of Belize was a smooth process. Keeping our license renewed and paying our yearly fees has been efficient and hassle-free. People at the various government agencies and the Belize Tourism Board have been more than willing to help us throughout the process.
“‘Now, my husband and I wake up each morning in paradise, happy to run our own place!’
“The view that Bill and Jenny fell in love with is of the Bay of Chetumal in the Corozal District. Their inn (www.cerrosbeachresort.com) is within walking distance of the seaside Maya ruins of Cerros. Realizing that this relatively remote location might not sustain a high occupancy, they built only four cabanas, which they supplemented with a restaurant. They guessed that a restaurant would do well if they set prices the community could support, and they were right.
“The restaurant, guest cabanas, and residence at Cerros Beach Resort operate completely off the electrical grid. All their power is solar (a completely new experience for Bill and Jenny that they are embracing).
“Lara Lennon found her paradise and place to call home on Ambergris Caye in 2003. Like Bill and Jenny, she has an entrepreneurial spirit, and, as a Belize resident, she found it an easy process to start her business. Her niche? Swimwear.
“As Lara explains it, sitting on a friend’s porch in San Pedro chatting about this-and-that in their tropical lives, she realized something. There existed nowhere in Belize a place to shop for ‘dress bathing suits,’ the kind glamorous enough for a beach wedding or special enough for a honeymoon. Lemon Crush Belize was born.
“The line is now featured in luxury boutiques both in Belize and internationally. Starting a business takes drive and determination, Lara admits, but she has found the experience in Belize rewarding.
“Best of all, she is still right where she wants to be, with her friends on a Caribbean island, enjoying life.
“Only now in better bathing suits!”