Entrepreneur Curtis Davis is happy that he was able to keep his doors open in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when many businesses were forced to shutter their operations.
Mr. Davis operates New Era Technology Services, a technology store that offers graphic design, printing, cellphone and laptop repairs as well as an internet café at Shop 5, 29 Spanish Town Road in downtown, Kingston. His community in west Kingston was not spared the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic as many micro small and medium-sized businesses were affected. Although he too has been forced to make adjustments, he is grateful that his business was able to remain open because of the services he offers.
“Persons in the community have always found our services to be very convenient especially now with the pandemic affecting us. During the early days of the pandemic, we were one of the few businesses that was able to stay open,” he recalled.
“Students needed to get their assignments printed because they came through WhatsApp. With most persons working from home, the teachers sent the assignments to the parents via the messaging platform. Most of the parents didn’t have a printer or paper so we were open during the period to assist them,” he added.
The St. George’s Old Boy started New Era Technology when he was 19 years old after recognising that there was a need in the community for an internet café where the employees were tech savvy and also offered a wide range of solutions.
“I grew up in the community and I realised that there was a need for this particular type of service. At the time you might have had one or two persons with internet access and they provided a service but it wasn’t full-fledged,” he related. “People couldn’t come in and print a document from their phone or email as well as get stationery, computer parts, repair their devices or even get answers to their general queries about technology.”
“We recognised the demand and realised we could create a niche and this is what we did,” he added
New Era Technology is currently a mainstay for the residents of Tivoli Gardens, and other parts of downtown Kingston who rely on it to browse internet for assignments, print documents and repair devices. Owing to the demand, Mr. Davis now employs three full-time employees with other persons coming in on contractual arrangements as needed.
“Owing to the pandemic we had to make adjustments to our staff complement to remain viable. We hope things continue to improve so we can return to our usual staff numbers as there is a demand for the services we offer in the community,” he explained.
Mr. Davis has also had to adapt to his ever-changing environment. The lockdown and other disruptions that have occurred in his community have forced him to continue to find ways to remain relevant and sees his businesses offering even more services in the near future.
“Based on what is happening around us, we will be transitioning into more graphic designing services. Printing is our core business although we are a computer store. Based on the changes in technology, and more Jamaicans purchasing devices online, we’re seeing less demand for that type of service so we’re adapting to the change in the market,” he stated.
Although being in business for the past 12 years, access to capital can sometimes be a challenge. It is in those moments that he relies on the assistance of JN Small Business Loans.
“I have been a JNSBL client for the past eight years,” he revealed. “During that time my credit relations officer and I have developed a wonderful relationship. She regularly calls to check up on me to ensure that I am doing well, my operations are going well and my family is OK. My first loan was a BizGrow loan product which I used to purchase much-needed equipment. Since then, I have benefitted from other loans which has allowed my business to remain viable.”
Mrs. Gillian Hyde, general manager, JNSBL said with many businesses being forced to close because of the pandemic, Mr. Davis ability to remain open and provide an important service showed his strong business acumen.
“Mr. Davis has served his community well and we are pleased to have provided him with much needed support over the years. He was able to serve his community during the lockdown when many of us were uncertain of what would happen and he continues to meet the needs of his clients. We are confident that he will continue to offer quality service to the residents of West Kingston,” she affirmed.
Mr. Davis’s dream is to assist in the growth and development of his community.
“My hope is to employ more persons from the community. The hope is to see more of them become more tech savvy as this would benefit the community greatly and allow us to grow even more,” he affirmed.