Restaurant-retail combo served up at FryDays
A successful business owner in today’s environment knows all too well that sometimes a pivot is required to move their enterprise forward.
So it is at FryDays Market in Hamilton’s Bermudiana Arcade, which has been transformed by owners Mstira Weeks and Vic Ball from a restaurant dining room into a retail outlet featuring refurbished furniture and inventive takes on everyday items.
Think T-shirts refashioned into a stool, a liquor bottle repurposed into a side table lamp and a chair made of teddy bears.
Now in its fifth week of operation, the 1,200sq ft outlet also stocks customised bags and other items, bake-at-home kits in a mason jar, take-home pizza kits, movie night kits, bottled sauces, as well as kits for making the former dining room’s most popular drinks at home.
The majority of items in the market are made by Ms Weeks and market manager Alexis Hall, who also handles most of the baking and DIY food kits.
Ms Weeks said: “Ninety per cent of everything in the market is made in-house.
“A lot of things that would otherwise go to the dump, we are using and refurbishing. For example, old tyres, serving trays and old pieces of wood that you couldn’t use but are in good condition.”
She added: “We have a lot of good stuff for Christmas, gifts like custom coasters, cutting boards and wine holders for glasses and a bottle of wine.”
Ms Weeks said that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic — periodic lockdowns, followed by reopenings and restrictions — prompted the pivot.
The FryDays restaurant had no outdoor space, and customer take-up for dining indoors was affected because of the need for a SafeKey.
The restaurant’s birthday party business had slowed down too.
So the co-owners have retained the takeaway food side of FryDays and added the retail market.
Ms Weeks said: “Now, for us, if there are no complete lockdowns, we can continue to stay open and keep our staff employed.”
FryDays has four full-time employees in Hamilton, as well as three art students who help out at the market part-time on Saturdays — Kyii Simons Henry from Bermuda College, Priel Salome Minors from CedarBridge Academy, and Kezjah Weeks, who is a student at The Berkeley Institute.
The decision to open a retail market, Ms Weeks said, was taken because she likes “to do something different, and add value.
“What can we bring to market that’s different?
“What does Bermuda need? How can we stand out?”
She added: “We are looking for people who like different stuff, who love crafts, accent pieces in their house. I love conversation pieces.”
Ms Weeks said that the crafting process has provided benefits in addition to creating goods for sale.
She added: “Crafting has helped us mentally. Covid is so stressful, and I find the crafting has taken a lot of stress off, for me and my staff.
“It is therapeutic. When I’m crafting, I feel like I’m in a happy place.
“It’s a good feeling, and I hope that people feel and see the love in the items we handmade.”
FryDays Market and takeaway restaurant is open from Monday to Wednesday from 11am until 7pm, and Thursday to Saturday from 11am until 9pm.