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65 Years of Business Development


Building an Empire


1908. Over one century ago is the year it all started;


the year Joseph Quentin Charles was born in Soufriere. But his story extends far beyond that time and place. Attaining an education was an instrumental first step for Sir JQ Charles, and the scholarship he won to St. Mary’s College secured him that opportunity in 1920. The second step – the acquisition of practical business experience; his stint with M&C bolstered him in that regard. The foundation was therefore set for the erection of an empire. And so the structure started to go up, engineered


on a broad framework because JQ Charles refused to be confined to one industry or even this island. His entrepreneurship took flight when he targeted markets outside the island through the export of agricultural produce. Initially, Choc Estate was the hub where animals were reared for produce, and where bananas and other crops were grown. Soap, oil, and quarry aggregate were also manufactured there. But eventually there was a move from reliance on primary products. The first supermarket was established in Castries but


Sir Joseph Quentin Charles


many locations followed throughout the island. The empire continued to grow on the basis of the secondary industry and the retail and wholesale of a diverse range of products. Real estate became a major extension. But the elements, over the period of 65 years, have


posed some difficulties in the building process. For the JQ Charles Group of Companies this indicated a need for a re-evaluation, not a cessation of work. A corporate office now coordinates all activities. JQ Motors Ltd, JQ Rodney Bay Mall Ltd, JQ Total Garden, JQ Cement Products Ltd, JQ Supermarket Ltd and JQ Realty Inc. all continue to exist with modifications which have made these companies more suited for survival and success in this current economy. The transformation of Choc Estate into a live/work/play town by Choc Valley Development Ltd is a major undertaking for the company. Today the company still embraces the framework


Former JQ Charles Property in Castries Business Focus July / August 46


which was put up from the onset; the scope remains broad. The JQ Charles Group of Companies continues to aggressively pursue opportunities despite location and despite industry. The building process has not ceased but will continue to progress.


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