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By Naomi Marshall
Hollis Bowen is a Linden woman with an entrepreneurial spirit that is driving her horticulture business to greatness.
Bowen is the owner of SAFIX Plant Shop, a business that grows and vends cash crops, fruit trees, and flowering and nonflowering plants. SAFIX Plant Shop even offers landscaping services, and plant pots. The plant shop is located at 27 Slivercity, Wismar Linden and has over 60 different types of plants to choose from including peach, pear, soursop, Mammea Americana commonly known as ‘mammy apple’, cactus, ferns and tree marigolds, among others.
While, horticulture is a growing market in Region 10 and its lucrativeness depends on anticipating demand for various types of plants, Bowen’s drive, innovativeness and risk- taker traits have definitely led to a booming business.
Bowen has always had an affinity to flowering plants since a tender age and would always plant trees for leisure.
In an interview with Village Voice Newspaper, Bowen disclosed that she grew up in Wismar Linden around farmers since her mother and father were both associated with cash-crop farming. However, she was more so captivated by flowering plants but never took up the trade.
Instead the mother of two migrated to Suriname, where she lived for 12 years and worked as a labourer.
Upon returning to Guyana in 2016, Bowen was focused on using her love for flowering plants to create income for her since she found it hard to work for the government because of the low wages that is paid.
So the 39-year-old had a vision to turn a plot of land, in her community that had been vacant for 37 years, into a garden where she would have planted 37 different types of plants.
However, Bowen encountered some challenges in obtaining the land from the relevant authority, hence her vision did not come fruition.
“When I came back home I tried to do things to create something for myself so I wanted to take up a piece of land on the Blueberry hill area which had been vacant for 37 years so I come up with the idea to put 37 different trees on the land but I had a bit of difficulties with the land authority” she recalled.
But this certainly did not stop the Lindener from working towards establishing her business. So she made use of the space she had at home and began planting a variety of trees in her yard, making it into a garden. She would also plant trees around her community to beautify the environment.
In August 2019, Bowen officially launched her business, SAFIX Plant Shop at Region 10 monthly Farmers’ Market Day. At the event, she received a great amount of support by people of the Linden community which motivated her to continue expanding her business.
“When I ventured out into farming I saw that I could work at my own pace and own time and I can sustain myself so I have been pushing,” she related.
The entrepreneur went on to say, “The journey has been enjoyable because I love what I do, I like taking care of nature, I like seeing the beauty in my surroundings. Sometimes people leave my shop with things they did not even pay for because I find more pleasure in giving.”
Since the launch, Bowen has added plant pots to her trade and offers landscaping services. While the journey has been challenging on the flip side, Bowen said that she does not focus on the trials but instead, she is focused on setting an example of independence for her children. “It has been challenging but I do not like to focus on the challenges but I like to focus on my children’s future…I have a daughter and I do not want her to be out there having to depend on any one,” she said.
The farmer is also preparing her children to get involved in the trade as well since she believes in “feeding” yourself and having multiple sources of income.
“With everything that is going on in society I just want my children to have something positive. So I am focused on having them acquire land and then getting them to do business on it so that they can push themselves. In the long run it is going to sustain them because who feed you control you so you must afford to take care of yourself,” Bowen noted.
She added, “Even though Linden has the land space a lot of us are not a lot of farmers…most food come from Georgetown and Berbice so as a young parent I am trying to stare my kids into the direction where by they can multi task, have a full time job and also a business on the side.”
The business woman is advising persons to plant their own food.
In efforts to further expand her horticulture business, Bowen will be expanding her garden to the Linden Soesdyke Highway and plans on acquiring personal transport to offer better and faster customer service.
Persons interested in contacting Bowen can call 5926927196.