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VIDEO: From one car battery to a $17-m business

Man who fled Kgn community because of violence advises youth to drop crime and work hard

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 08, 2019

WHEN Justin Strachan fled his Park Lane home off Red Hills Road in St Andrew several years ago due to ongoing gang violence, he did not know his next move.

He found himself in the coastal town of Annotto Bay — an active and heavily populated settlement west of the mouth of the Wag Water River in St Mary — where he now resides.

Running away meant that he lost all that he had worked diligently to obtain, but the 41-year-old decided that starting over was far less costly than dying at the hands of criminals.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer on January 30, Strachan shared that his new life began with two old car batteries.

Today, he runs a business that he values at $17 million — something he felt he would never have achieved had he not experienced what he did.

“Mi born and grow a Park Lane, Kingston 19 but because of the war and the garrison mi kind of had to leave the community so that mi could try to be a better person. Mi believe seh a nuh weh you born or grow, a yuh ambition weh yuh have. Mi never choose crime at nuh time. Mi choose business,” Strachan said.

The “old” Volvo car he had faithfully driven for several years had done its time, and Strachan felt that if he could “get a sale” for the battery, he would be fine, even if for only a short time. That battery gave him enough money to purchase two newer ones.

“From deh so mi start to sell old batteries and old tyre till somebody introduce mi to Andrew Buddan from Tyre Warehouse and him give mi an account for $500,000 and mi sell and mi pay every month till him raise the account to $1 million, then to $2 million till him raise it to $3 million, then to $4 million and right now it deh $10 million,” Strachan said.

“As you can see, a from outta the old Volvo that start until mi build up a likkle shop and from there mi just keep building, building until there is now no space. Suh, mi want a youth know seh you see fi every hard work, you have a pay day. Sometimes you put out your best and you get the less, you still can't feel depressed because ambition a success. That a my motto,” Strachan said.

He now owns three trucks, he uses for delivery work, along with his thriving seven-year-old electronic supply store.

“This is a successful business weh value $17 million. Mi start mi likkle foundation and now mi house pretty near done. One floor finish already and we a go up pon the next one. So you see right now, mi want a youth know seh inna Jamaica it's not about crime or waste time. It's about doing something constructive on the frontline because sometimes things can make out of nothing. It's not about hold corner and rub out weed inna hand pon corner. Dem thing deh nuh go nuh weh. Try and make every day be a hard-working day and one day you will see what you reap and the benefit weh you get,” Strachan advised.

“The way how crime and violence stay inna Jamaica sometimes mi bawl inna mi heart. Life can be good for everyone. As long as you decide fi not be a part of violence and just stay focused. Nuff people not even know seh Buju [Banton] a mi brother-in-law — mi sister name Lorna — and wi still nuh look that way enuh because what is fi him is fi him and what is fi mi a fi mi. I don't seh mek mi depend pon him because him famous,” Strachan said.

“Suh right now mi glad fi weh mi reach and mi have further to go. A man must know him can reach deh to just nuh think 'bout crime or if you in deh already, put it down because crime can't pay. Mi want some of di youth dem follow mi footsteps. Wi never get nuh help from no one. It's just persistence and ambition,” added Strachan.