Castleton, St Mary, vendors bask in profits after shakedown by COVID-19

After being forced to throw away their investments on numerous occasions during the COVID-19 pandemic, soup and food vendors who operate in Castleton, St Mary, are singing praises for the opportunity they now have to earn a living without government restrictions.

Tamara Ivy, who partners with her mother to run a crayfish, chicken foot, goat head, and pig’s tail soup stand just outside the Castleton Botanical Gardens, said business has been pleasing for her and the other vendors in the space.

When quizzed about the state of the business during the pandemic, she said that those days were difficult.

“COVID-19 was rough. Sometimes we had to throw away a lot of soup. People would come and leave with buckets of soup to feed their animals. I am glad for the freedom. Right now, business is going fine. It went fine right throughout 2022. Passers-by really supported us. We prepare food for diplomats and the police across the street at the Castleton Police Station,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Roland Carr, a chicken, sprat, fritters, and porridge vendor agreed that since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions business has been good. He thanked Red Stripe for branding the stalls at the location to attract customers.

“The branded stalls brighten up the place even more. On Saturdays and Sundays, the place is blocked. There is a river over by the gardens so on holidays, when the place is filled, we make a lot of sales.

“At my shop you can get fried chicken for the price of $250, $350, and up. I have been doing this for around three years. People coming into St Mary from St Andrew, they stop right here and vice versa. We take care of them.”

Karen Bogle-Brown, the only beverage vendor at the spot, said she could never ask for a better location from which to do business despite slowness in sales sometimes.

“This spot is nice. Mi nuh waa move from this spot go nowhere else,” she said.

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