The Story Exchange, Denese Palmer, Southside DistributorsYour Name: Denese Palmer

Business Name: Southside Distributors limited, a manufacturer and distributer of food products made from fruits, vegetables and spices

Type of Business: Food & Beverage

Business Location: St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

Twitter   @Southsideltd

Reason for starting
Southside sprang into being and operation on the 6th of June 2006 from the fertile and brilliant mind of Denese Palmer. This visionary has under her belt almost twenty (20) years of Quality Control and Management experience on the Food Processing Turf. At her former place of employment, she selflessly advised her Directors on the development of formulations and the initiation of market worthy products for formation. Denese kept sharing her expertise until her directors decided they did not have sufficient funds to support her ideas of market expansion and product development. Little did they know that the last idea they repudiate, would be the flagship product of a new enterprise– Southside. Palmer’s first contour of action was to send out a few samples of her Jerk Seasoning to potential markets locally. It was not long before Hotels on the North Coast, Restaurants and Resorts started placing orders. Then with the assistance of two part time employees, a pot and stove, in a two room apartment in Ballads Valley; St. Elizabeth, Denese wowed her customers. In no time, Southside’s customer base spread wings and flew to international markets.

How do you define success?
I believe that the necessary elements of success includes a combination of preparation, opportunity and the right attitude(positive, resilient). The reason for including those variables as the formula for success is simply that opportunities are everywhere, some come around once, others are rotated annually in grants or other sorts while some of the most important and profound ones must be seeked after our created by the person who desires success. Therefore, success is defined by people having the right attitude towards making the sacrifices to be prepared for the opportunities that abound and when there are no opportunities; create.

Biggest Success
The biggest success that we have acheived at Southside outside of being recognized as a reputable company by our customers and onlookers locally and internationally is to have acquired and puchased half acre (1/2)land to erected our own building on after three years of operating out of a small two room rented shop.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Our top challenges includes : getting the right staff on board who are trainable and adaptable to the food processing environment. We have recently put a cap on this challenge by having a number of training sessions for staff in areas other than food processing such as: ethics training, motivational presentations and we have restructured our job interview systems to do practical tests in order to identify whether the person is trainable. Another challenge is the fact that the business community does not have running water in order for us to have readily access to water with a lower over head cost. We have written to the NWC and the Member of Parliament in the area to outline this challenge which has been met with

Who is your most important role model?
My most important role model is Minna Israel former Head the of RBC Banks in Jamaica and Scotia Bank Cayman.