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Hotseat - Romeo Marrishaw

807_HotseatBusinessman Romeo Marrishaw has worked in business for many years, but his latest venture to operate his own business "Edible Bouquets" is his tastiest endeavour yet. The married father of four was born in St. Kitts. He migrated to the United States in the late 70s and worked in the corporate world for many years. Over the past 20 years, he has worked as Manager for Glenwood Management Corporation in New York; Account Executive of Spontaneous Staffing in New York; Marketing Manager of Divi Little Bay Resort and Casino in St. Maarten and as an Off-Property Consultant for the former Pelican Resort and Casino in St. Maarten. He currently serves as Managing Director of his own family business Edible Bouquets – the first registered business of its kind in St. Maarten. The Piscean gives a deeper insight into his world in this week's Hot Seat.

How would you describe yourself?

God knew I was going to be scared of heights, so he only made me five feet six inches tall. I am a soft-spoken man, who lives by his words and have a great relationship with the law.

Where were you educated? What did you study and why?

I attended the Centre for the Media Art in New York City where I studied photography. I fell in love with the clicking sound of a camera at a very young age and as I grew older, the terms and terminology of photography fascinated me even more.

How did you end up in St. Maarten?

I came on vacation in 1991 from New York with the intention of staying one week. I fell in love with the island and ended up staying five years. However, I knew I would be back to do business and settle down. Well, now is that time.

How did you end up in business?

I ended up in business simply because I wanted to do more than my salary allowed me to do. But in the workplace, I never complained. I always referred to the quotation of Mary Engelbreit: "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it." So I did something about it.

What are edible bouquets?

We take 100 per cent real fruit and carve them into various art forms; pineapples, grapes, honeydew melon, cantaloupes, kiwis, oranges, mangoes, strawberries and watermelons. In addition, we do strawberry dipped chocolate and apples, for chocolate lovers.

Why this particular type of business?

After getting injured outside the World Trade Center on 911, an edible arrangement was sent to me from a friend as a get well gesture. I was fascinated by its contents. I kept it on the back burner and named it St. Maarten project.

How soon can an order be filled?

We usually ask for an hour in advance. However, if a customer walks in and requests a bouquet immediately, we can knock it off in 15 minutes. Edible bouquets are extremely popular among travellers and cable customers who have seen them on TV.

What differentiates Edible Bouquets from similar establishments out there?

Our staffers have an educational background in fruit carving. When we deliver a basket to our customers, we always get the same response – "Wow!" The most popular bouquets among our customers are what we call Calypso Medley. They are made with the most popular fruits, cut in various art forms with or without chocolate.

Why are fruits a better alternative to flowers?

The obvious reason – our fruit bouquets are flowers to eat and our customers experience the wow factor on every delivery. In addition, our edible arrangements are much more photogenic than flowers. No disrespect to florists.

Best part of being in this industry?

There is no off-season. Every day is a birthday, an anniversary or self-appreciation day.

Downside?

After giving this question some thoughts, I must say the fluctuation in the prices of fruit on a daily basis.

What would you like customers to know about your service?

The fundamental aim of our mission is to create stunning fruit bouquets that will bring the wow factor to any social event – from birthdays and anniversaries to weddings and corporate events. Or you can simply use our fresh fruit bouquets to say congratulations, thank you and get well soon. Our fruit arrangements are made one hour before delivery to ensure freshness. As an emerging family business, we have core values that we share, teach and follow in all aspects of business. Above all, we are perfectionists. We are never satisfied with anything unless we exceed far beyond our customers' expectations.

What have you done before Edible Bouquets?

Besides managing other establishments, I am also an author and publisher of a quotation book called Fantabulous Quotes of Wisdom. Included in the book are quotes such as: I was born with all the defining characteristics of a great man; therefore, I am ~Romeo Marrishaw; Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry ~ Mark Twain; Map out your future, but do it in pencil ~ Jon Bon Jovi; and A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence ~ David Hume.

How can the business climate in St. Maarten be improved?

Lowering taxes for small businesses plays a significant role; education in general; education on keeping good financial record; increase spending for consumers; having a well-trained workforce and more importantly, better customer service.

How do you occupy yourself when you are not making edible bouquets?

Revising my book Fantabulous Quotes of Wisdom and searching the internet for the next best thing to bring to St. Maarten.

Favourite pastimes?

Participating in track and field and representing St. Kitts in the Pan Am games: 100 yards dash, 400 and 800 metres.

Pet peeve?

Pessimism: It takes the wind out of my sail, every time.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Being the author of a few good books, having my own franchises and my own Quotation Corner' in a popular newspaper.

Biggest fear?

To die prematurely.

What is your favourite type of music? What artistes do you listen to?

Love Reargue-Beres Hammond, Calypso with a warm sense of humour – The Mighty Sparrow and on the other side of the spectrum, classical music – Ludwig van Beethoven.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

Jesus Christ, Barack H. Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. I would cook my mom's favourite dish: turn corn meal served with snapper fillet in brown garlic sauce, finished with a slice of sweet potato.