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GBPA’s Invest Grand Bahama Promotional Unit Taking GB to the ‘Big Apple’

New York City will be the next stop, for the Invest Grand Bahama Promotional Unit of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), as the team prepares to promote the benefits of doing business in Freeport, at the 2015 International Franchise Expo (IFE) in June.

Unlike previous promotional efforts, Freeport Decorators, a licencee of GBPA, will accompany the team on this business charged three-day excursion. Eloise Stephens, owner of Freeport Decorators won the raffle and walked away with an all-expense paid trip, compliments of GBPA, during its recent Customer Service Training Workshop hosted by the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB). The two-day event held at the Pelican Bay resort, catered to nearly 200 GBPA licencees.

Senior Manager of Business Development, Derek Newbold, weighed in on the occasion.

“I would like to congratulate Mrs. Eloise Stephens on winning the coveted prize of a free trip to New York City, to participate in the upcoming International Franchise Expo along with the Invest Grand Bahama team and other stakeholders,” he said.

Newbold also attributed the success of the recent customer training workshop to the dedicated Licencees, who took a proactive approach by attending the informative, yet interactive undertaking.

“Good customer service remains a challenge in the local business community; however, it was extremely encouraging to see so many small business owners take this initiative seriously” Newbold said.

Touching on the state of the local business sector, Newbold asserted that there is a lack of business diversity in the local economy.

“Over the years we have noticed significant duplication in certain business categories, to the extent that it now puts a spotlight on the lack of diversity within the small business sector. In an effort to address this issue we want to encourage the local business community to consider innovative and creative business ideas moving forward. I certainly don’t believe that everyone wants to be in the same type of business but I do believe that our local business community needs greater exposure to the different types of businesses out there,” he explained.

Trip winner, Eloise Stephens expressed sheer excitement for the upcoming expo where hundreds of different business models will be showcased.

“Wow, I'm so excited.  You know, we've been in business for more than 30 years and I've watched this island go through many changes, so I know what we have to offer to investors. I know what our country has to offer, and most importantly, I know what our people have to offer. New York is a mecca for business and to be heading there as part of team GBPA, to promote the island and our country is just amazing. I still can't believe it,” she said.

The 30 year veteran shared her thoughts on the importance of offering top of the line customer service, especially for customers that appear undecided.

“The whole idea behind customer service is to provide the most pleasant environment possible for the customer. For me, the seminar affirmed all the things that I was doing right and provided interesting ways on how to see things from the customers' point of view. For example, many times customers come in and are unsure of what item would best suit their need. This is where product knowledge and experience allows me to assist the customer in making the best selection,” Mrs. Stephen commented. “The workshop also shared lots of tips on how to keep the customer engaged and, how to maintain your composure if and when challenging situations arise. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed it, I left feeling really upbeat and glad I went.”

Stephens added that as a result of her refresher course on customer service training, she is now better equipped to serve customers of all types, and she looks forward to setting her sights on New York City as a Grand Bahama Island ambassador with the GBPA Team.


The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within an area called the 'Port Area' (230 sq. miles). GBPA was mandated by this Agreement to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and required infrastructure for the City.



GBPA has achieved an astonishing amount since its inception in 1955.  When first created it was a Grand Bahamian business conglomerate charged not only with land and commercial development but also with all the regulatory and administrative functions of the Freeport/Lucaya.



Firstly, I wish to thank Joan Albury and the Counsellors for this platform enabling us to share with the Grand Bahama community, the outlook for our island! 2015 marks the 60th year of the birth of Freeport and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement; 60 years of a partnership between The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority. I'm here to raise hopes for 2015 and to lay a few popular myths to rest - For those who don't know me, I am Sarah St George.