Douglas McVicars and accomplice Dianne White, who’ve simply opened their fifth hyperlink in a sequence of bread and pastry outlets in Antigua have turned out to have the fitting stuff in relation to making a residing out of French bread and sandwiches. Doug, a former House Depot exec in Toronto, and Dianne, a not too long ago graduated architect, moved to Antigua in mid 2003.

Doug began working half – time for Franciane in January of 2004, and was quickly supplied the place of supervisor with income sharing, full advantages and incentives together with shares within the enterprise. Right now Franciane’s sells round 300,000 sandwiches a 12 months; this on an island with a inhabitants of simply over 70,000. The enterprise has now expanded to 5 outlets in complete with plans to open franchises in different Caribbean islands, together with St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Dominica within the subsequent 12 months or two. Dianne, utilizing her coaching as an architect designed the final store. It was designed to function the prototype for the deliberate growth.

Doug says that he needed to make a significant change within the course that Franciane’s was heading after he took over. He felt the previous supervisor was concentrating on the mistaken clientele; ex-pats, vacationers, yachties. So the very first thing he did after taking it over was change it into a neighborhood place, concentrating on the locals. He purchased extra produce on-island, whereas the previous supervisor had imported quite a bit from France. He made drastic adjustments within the menu. Tuna, crab, turkey, roast beef and native saltfish changed paté and Brie. This made for heartier sandwiches, which have been welcomed by the native inhabitants.

They’ve had competitors from a brand new Subway franchise that opened six months in the past, but it surely has not affected their gross sales. Doug says it is as a result of they’re very costly, promoting objects for $20 that Franciane’s has for $10. There was an anticipated loss of some prospects, however others who have been joyful to see a shorter line at Franciane’s shortly changed them.

Antigua additionally has its conventional varieties of breads, that are heavier, and sometimes laden with tinned butter, pork sausage and cheese.

“That was certainly one of my first experiences after I first got here right here”, Doug says. “Dianne took me to Brownie’s (bakery)”.

“Sure”, Dianne recollects. “I obtained you a sandwich with sausage and cheese”.

“It was completely different”, Doug provides, “but it surely was good, very heavy. However do not get me mistaken, you’ll be able to’t eat our sandwiches day-after-day both.”

Fairly just a few prospects would possibly beg to vary. Franciane’s workers know the regulars who eat both the identical sandwich day-after-day, or combine and match the fillings, however nonetheless, are available in at across the identical time day-after-day.

Dianne says. “They appear to love it, and what we attempt to do is to supply them with the fitting fillings that they need. Like saltfish and pink herring. We can even be carrying the native cheese, as a result of not everybody likes cheddar and Swiss. They appear to be very connected to the tinned cheese. So we’re nonetheless attempting so as to add to the menu”.

Antiguans have been already conscious of French bread as a result of there was previously a Swiss bakery positioned in a well-liked vacationer part of the island together with one other French bakery within the capital, St. John’s.

Slowing down from the tempo of life in Toronto has been a welcome change for the couple. Doug and Dianne did not even realise how a lot their tempo had modified, till a latest journey by way of Miami, after they have been sauntering to catch a flight, whereas being bumped and glared at by North Individuals attempting to get to the aircraft. “After issues like that,” Dianne says, “you simply start to recollect why you left. All people (there) is transferring as if each single second of the day counts. Once you’re right here for 2 years, you do not realise how a lot you’ve got truly slowed down.”

Doug says he is glad with the garments and different objects he should buy on island. Dianne may need just a few extra complaints, as, like most girls, she tends to crave a little bit extra selection when it comes to purchasing. Nonetheless, she’s content material to hop on a flight to Puerto Rico each time the necessity arises. Many locals do the identical.

They’ve adjusted to the island grocery store schedules when it comes to the supply of contemporary produce, which disappears shortly on weekends. Doug recollects the shocked response by some worldwide college students at a medical college, who frequent certainly one of Franciane’s retailers, after they have been informed there was no lettuce for his or her sandwiches. “They have been like, ‘What do you imply you do not have lettuce?'” he recounts. “And I requested them, properly, how did you get right here? They usually go, ‘By aircraft.’ And I stated, okay, do you see any roads main from right here to Miami?”

“Procurement on the island will not be as straightforward because it appears,” he says. “There are just a few troublesome instances of 12 months, like November when the motels re-open, and we might find yourself quick.” They’ve realized learn how to develop connections with the native wholesalers, who will warn them of anticipated shortages forward of time. The couple used to import a 20 ft. container of genuine French bread and pastries as soon as each three months, however the enterprise’ reputation has now modified that to a container each 28 days.

Many individuals have expressed scepticism {that a} pretty younger firm has branched out so shortly, however Doug says Franciane’s is displaying no indicators of slowing down, and actually, they’re planning at the least two different shops, together with one throughout the airport.

And are they proud of their determination emigrate to the Caribbean? Give Doug the final phrase:

“I all the time stated I used to be going to reside within the Caribbean by my early 40s,” he says. “And I stated, what, if you happen to by no means do it, you may by no means do it. A superb buddy of mine in Toronto stated, ‘you are gonna come again.’ However I’d go to a different island, I do not know what I am going to do, however I prefer it right here. I actually do.”

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