Doing what they do best

Doug Armstrong (left) and Dereck Foster.

Automotive Arts is not wallowing in the present economic environment.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning Chief Executive Officer, Doug Armstrong, said that in spite of the tough economic challenges they faced, they were doing their best to seek other opportunities to improve their product offering.

“In tough economic times there is obviously a hardship but there is also opportunity as well,” he said. “What we have tried to do is not complain and cry over the economy … There is nothing we can do about it. What we can do is focus on what we can do to make a difference and do well, and that is what we have done and I think really that is what has carried us.

“What we have done is to try to focus more on our customers, look for opportunities within the customers that we service now, how we can do better and also new product developments. What new markets we can enter with new products to get new revenue stream. They are the two major initiatives that we try to do to hedge against the negatives of the economy.”

The Barbadian-owned company has 18 stores in nine islands: Jamaica, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guyana, Surinam, Grand Cayman and Turk and Caicos.

Beyond the Automotive Arts franchise stores, which are in those islands, the 22-year-old company also trades in 30 other markets within the Caribbean and also North America. We have a distribution centre in Miami that we use basically as the logistic hub for the Caribbean and South and Central America.

The company also operates businesses in Canada and the United States in the paint arena.

Armstrong further acknowledged that while the financial climate was challenging they did not lay off staff.

“I don’t know too many business people who would say otherwise, but, in spite of the challenges, we are holding our own and doing well. I think everybody is finding it tough in most countries where their major industry is tourism. I don’t think that it is any secret that that is under pressure right now,” he said.

Twenty-two years ago Automotive Arts started as just a dream of entrepreneurs. They were based in the car paint sector, and unable to obtain start-up capital they aligned themselves with Harris Paints. Today they are one of the most recognised names in the automotive sector in Barbados. This year they have embarked on giving opportunities to other entrepreneurs with the launch of the Automotive Arts Entrepreneurship Competition. The aim is to propagate an entrepreneurial mind-set within the community and country.

Its objective is to ultimately help to generate a new generation of entrepreneurs to carry the industry and business in Barbados


As for the future of Automotive Arts’ the CEO said they would be making an “important” announcement next week. (KC)

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