- Brother Alec tells his story about entrepreneurship in Linden
In 1976, Wilman Alexander Britton, popularly known as Brother Alec in the mining town of Linden, started selling fine leaf thyme for 10 cents. Forty Five years later, he has established himself on Republic Avenue as a well-known multi-faceted vendor, that has not only created a better life for himself, but employment for others and is now able to give advice to those who want to go into business as well.
Brother Alec, who hails from Silvertown, said his journey began when he was 18-years-old. He started off with working at Guyana Stores for 18 months. “I worked at Guyana stores but I did not think that this job was as fulfilling as it should be, so I branched off into becoming an entrepreneur. I continued my teenage years by walking and selling items across the length and breadth of Linden. Things were a bit tough, so I decided to become a Rastafarian. In those days it was the trend for Rastafarians not to hold down a steady job. So I was defying the odds and doing something different by creating my own job by walking around selling right here in Linden,” Brother Alec said.
He then ventured into the entertainment business, by becoming a popular promoter right here in Linden. “I was probably the number one promoter at that time. Persons respected my craft and they would call on me from time to time to advertise their dance.”
It was during one of his shows that he got a strong conviction and decided to become a Christian. It was after that, he decided to change jobs by selling Gospel CDs and DVDs. “I decided to give my heart to God in 1993 and I knew that things would get better for me and that I would not have to struggle anymore.”
Several years went by, then Brother Alec ,who is now 58-years-old, decided to purchase a snackette. “I realised that there was a desperate need for Guyanese made snacks here in Linden so I decided to get my sister involved as she is a Home Economics Teacher and she is well experienced in preparing these local snacks. The name of the snackette is M.P.O (Mackenzie Post Office) Snackette. It was officially opened on the 1st February 2018.
There was one major challenge which Brother Alec experienced. With Linden having a high unemployment rate and the economy being stagnated, his customer rate was very low, in addition to having several competitors. “I did not allow this challenge to affect my business, I utilised the money and resources I had and was able to pull through that difficult patch. I decided to utilise my sister’s expertise as she knows to prepare the various pastries, snacks and local beverages.”
Brother Alec told INFO 10, that as the years went by and as business thrived he was able to do a television advertisement to promote his snackette and add a new element to his business, which includes costume jewelry.
Available for Lindeners, are a wide variety of snacks which include; cheese rolls, mince swirls, egg balls, cassava pone, roti and curry; sorrel, passion fruit juices and other beverages. Brother Alec stressed that the fruits for these local beverages are grown and picked right here in Linden. “We try to ensure that our customers can enjoy and rest assured knowing that what they are drinking what is produced right here from the mining town.
Brother Alec told this publication that in the next five years he sees himself getting into the construction industry as he is working on purchasing equipment required for this industry.
His advice to young persons who want to get involved in business, is that they should keep a clear mindset and remain focus at all times. When asked how this pandemic has affected him, Mr. Britton replied that it has not impacted him very much, however he had to reduce his workforce. He is however remaining positive of becoming one of Linden’s leading small-business entrepreneurs.