Two young Grand Bahamian entrepreneurs believe that the island’s economy is ripe, at this time, to launch their latest business venture, Custom Made Tours (CMT).
Nevar Smith and Justan Campbell told this daily, during the soft launch of their new business on Saturday, March 4 that the momentous day was indeed a long time coming.
“And we are both grateful and eager to expose this business to residents and guests on the island of Grand Bahama,” the duo agreed.
“This was a five-year process, arriving at this point. I got the inspiration to start this vision back in 2012 and from that point until now, I have been working extremely hard, getting the business plan together, doing the research, and raising the funds of course.
“What is so beautiful about it is that this project was entirely made here in Grand Bahama,” said Smith. “This is a Grand Bahamian project through and through; all of my partners are Grand Bahamians – young dynamic, outstanding Bahamians, who grew up on this island.
“We all have a passion for this place and even though some may look at our economy as being in a depressed state, we see the potential, we see the opportunities and we have invested in the future of Grand Bahama,” Smith added.
Noting that the journey was a long time coming, Smith said that he and his team pooled their resources, talents and network to bring the entire business model to fruition. Explaining the concept of the company, Smith said, “It is going to be a limo bus service that we are providing. Inside the limo are amenities and features like no other bus, including flat screen televisions, lighting and sound systems, DJ booth, a wet bar, among others … it is just amazing.
“When you walk on the bus you will feel as if you are in a different zone. We took our time, using local talent to build the bus; from body men to electricians, mechanics, carpenters, welders, you name it. We bought a lot of the supplies locally, although we still had to buy some from overseas.
“Today is just an exciting day; this is going to revolutionize the way we, as locals have fun. To launch this today is overwhelming for me; it feels surreal. We just cannot wait to serve the Grand Bahamian public with this bus; all of you are going to be truly proud of what Grand Bahamians have done on this island, from the ground up.
“I am just here to serve as an inspiration. This is a prime example of what faith, determination and hard work can produce,” Smith said.
He disclosed that the vehicle was purchased from Sanitation Services, gutted and transformed it into something that is totally unique.
“We are starting with one bus, but as I always tell my partners, we see this as a seed that is going to bear fruit that will eventually become a fleet of unique and outstanding buses.
“In fact, we are already in the process of working on the second bus. We are going to employ over 15 persons with this first phase, directly and indirectly. As we expand we are going to continue to offer more employment opportunities for Grand Bahamians and impact the economy in a positive way. We are just getting started and I can assure, it is only up from here,” said the CEO.
Questioned if the tours will extend outside of the Freeport area, Smith said, “Currently, we do not have that capacity at the moment, but in the very near future we will be making that happen; because of course, we want to offer those nice long rides into the west and the east. It will not be long before we are able to get into that zone.”
Justan Campbell, COO, shared how he became a part of the Custom Made Tour idea, along with his friend and business partner, Smith.
“In March 2013, I had recently returned home from school in Atlanta. I had experienced a party bus and other entertainment tours there. About a week after returning home, Nevar approached me about this idea and I said yes right away. I saw it as instant success on Grand Bahama; to date, there is nothing like it here.
“Four years later, this means the world to us … the hard work, even in the last 24 hours, just to have the bus completed in time for this launch. The last two months have been crazy, yet wonderful,” Campbell recalled.
“It was my duty to complete this project in grand style and so this means the world … to be here right now, to celebrate the launch of the most exciting tour company in Grand Bahama,” said Campbell.
Asked what persons can expect from CMT, the young entrepreneur answered, “They can expect a unique tour, we sell fun, entertainment; we customize our tours to everyone’s needs. If you want to come on the bus and watch Netflix, we have WiFi availability. We also have a live DJ, a host that will entertain you and serve drinks; this is a wonderful and unique tour.
“We are ready, we have been pressing at this for the last four years … we experienced a lot of road bumps even in the last week, but it is said faith is moving with the belief that something will happen without even seeing it; we have been moving by faith and not by sight over the last week, just to be out here today. This is a wonderful feeling to be out here and celebrate with everyone,” concluded the co-founder.
Bishop Kermit Saunders, senior pastor at Kingdom Worship Center International blessed the young entrepreneurs’ business as well as their bus.
“I am extremely proud of these two young Bahamians, embarking on entrepreneurship. When I was approached by Justan to be a part of this, I gladly embraced it for several reasons. Firstly, he is near to my heart, he is my godson and secondly, he is a part of Kingdom Worship Center. Being a member there, where we (our church) promote entrepreneurship, when he told me what he wanted to do, I thought it was a wonderful venture.
“I wanted to be a part of this, to stand with him and let him know that he has people behind him,” said Saunders.
“I think that CMT is going to help with fostering the local economy, as well as be something else for the tourists to do. We know that this is a thriving business in other parts of the world and I believe that it can do very well here.
“One of the positive things about this entertainment vehicle is the fact that it can be used for whatever … the church can use it. It is not just earmarked for parties, in a negative overtone, but it can also be used for retreats, getaways, baby christenings and other ventures.
“When he shared it with me I was very pleased to hear the vastness of what this bus is capable of being utilized for. That is why I believe that it is very important; it shows their commitment to wanting to affect the economy in a positive way, by obviously developing jobs for drivers, mechanics, and hosts.
“I think it is a wonderful venture and I think that it is something to be commended. I pray that opportunities afford them to increase their fleet; I am very proud of them. I know Nevar and his family very well. I am very proud of their efforts and I think this is the beginning of great things for this team,” said Saunders.
Persons that are interested in finding out more information about CMT can contact them on their Facebook Page, Custom Made Tours or on Instagram, @custommadetours.
Published Thursday, March 9, 2017