Craig’s green, sustainable business
When Greenhouse Bermuda went up for sale in 2020, the business’s green, sustainable ethos appealed to Craig Smith.
“I drive around in an electric van,” he said. “I am living the life.”
And after working for 25 years in hospitality, as Bacardi brand manager, beverage manager of St George’s Club and manager of The Dog House on Front Street, he thought he had the knowledge and contacts to make it work.
But just a month after launching, the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
"That was interesting, to say the least,” Mr Smith laughed.
The health crisis brought him challenges he never could have anticipated. World labour and material shortages pushed the price of meat up, and there were supply-chain complications.
But with grocery stores remaining open during social distancing and lockdown, he was able to push forward and build up his business.
His organic meats, fruits and beverages and green products such as LED lights are now available in grocery stores and restaurants across Bermuda.
Mr Smith spends a lot of time researching just the right items to sell.
“I have a lot of vendors in North America,” he said. “Either I look at products in their portfolios or I do Google searches and bring in samples. I give the samples to my customers to try. If I don’t like it, I don’t sell it. It is a bit of a process but at the end of the day I have done pretty well in sourcing products that the community wants.”
One of his most popular items is his organic coffee.
“Coffee hits a lot of sectors,” he said. “The dried mango also does really well, and I have 14 different types of jerky meats. They do very well where they are positioned.”
His products tend to have very simple ingredient lists.
“My tuna is sustainably caught tuna” he said. “It says on the can: tuna, water and sea salt.”
He joined the latest cohort of Ignite’s business accelerator programme.
“It is a great opportunity for solo entrepreneurs, whether they are a start-up, slightly more experienced or more established,” he said. “I had some prior experience 25 years ago. I ran a summer camp out on Agar’s Island for a while. But Ignite is a great source where it helps you with business knowledge, financial accounting advice and networking opportunities. They cover the full spectrum of where you are in your business.”
Mr Smith said that if a new entrepreneur in the programme has a problem, Ignite will help them brainstorm solutions.
“When you are a sole proprietor, there are always problems,” he said. “Ignite gives you a great think-tank to get through those problems. They also have guest speakers come in from firms such as KPMG to talk about topics such as accounting or HR.”
Mr Smith can also use space at Ignite to hold a meeting with a customer or business partner. Otherwise he works out of his home.
His goal right now is to expand his product range.
“One of the rewards for running the business is being your own boss,” Mr Smith said.
He admitted that it could be a double-edged sword.
“One can give oneself a little bit more accountability,” he said. “On the downside, the office is at home so you never get away from it. But the effort you put in is generally the result you get back. It is nice to have your own direction and see the fruits of your labour. It is cool to bring in new products and see that they are taking off. That is a feel-good factor.”
His products are for sale at both Lindos stores, Terceira’s on the North Shore, Miles Market and Harrington Hundreds Grocery.
Mr Smith is looking at expanding to a few more locations. Customers can also buy through his website www.greenhousebermuda.com.
For more information, call 537-5875, e-mail email@example.com or see his Facebook page @greenhousebermuda.