Benjamin’s Bakery rising from the ashes
February 27, 2021, would mark four years since Benjamin’s Homemade Bakery at Buxton, East Coast Demerara, went up in flames, leaving millions of dollars of losses in its aftermath.
The family business, which has been in operation for three decades, is iconic to Buxton, providing employment to dozens of men and women of the community.
Back in 2017, Wesley Benjamin, owner of the popular bakery, had told the media that Guyana Fire Service had confirmed that the blaze, which began in the office of the building, was a result of arson.
While the entrepreneur did not point to the possible perpetrator (s), he did make reference to a land dispute matter that has been engaging the court since the bakery’s opening in 1991.
In April 2018, the Benjamin family managed to reopen the doors to a spanking new facility on the same site, with the then First Lady Sandra Granger cutting the ribbon to officially commission the Guyanese-owned establishment.
Speaking to News Room recently, Director of Benjamin’s Homemade Bakery, Kevon Benjamin, said the family was traumatised by the incident in 2017, but through unity and perseverance, they managed to pull through.
Getting the bakery back to full capacity, as it is today, was no easy task, Benjamin noted.
“Some of the challenges getting back to this point was getting some of the equipment back, that was one. We had a really tough time getting them back into the country, and we also had some assistance from relevant authorities with tax exemptions and so on. So, that helped us out a lot, but sourcing them was a real big problem,” Kevon, the son of Wesley, explained.
Despite the setback, Kevon stressed that maintaining a standard of delivering quality products to the public has been a hallmark of Benjamin’s Homemade Bakery, and the valued feedback from customers has been a source of inspiration.
Currently, their products, produced solely by residents of the community, are available from Georgetown to Berbice.
“This is my father’s passion and it also became my passion as well. That kept us going; we didn’t stop just because of the fire, we tried to persevere and get it up back again,” Kevon intimated.
Benjamin’s Bakery gained roots through Kevon’s great-grandmother, who was a baker. The trade was passed on to Wesley, who opted to practice the craft on a large-scale.
Today, the establishment sits prominently at 33 Middle Walk, Buxton, and is testimony to the resilience of the Benjamin family.