Despite losing two locations prior and a third one due to Hurricane Dorian, Livity Vegetarian Take Out and Juice Bar celebrated 10 years of serving the Grand Bahamian community.
Founder and owner, Jamahl Rolle has been a healthy promoter since 1996 and as he started selling drinks out of the back of his vehicle, he never imagined his products – juices, smoothies and vegetarian food – acceptance would grow to serving thousands, and later lead to the three store openings.
Rolle, who celebrated his company’s 10th Anniversary back in October 2019 told this daily on Friday, January 3, how his natural products became a number one resource for many living a healthy conscience lifestyle.
“It was 1996 that I started producing my own bottle juices and engaging in deliveries. We had Carrot Juice, Irish Moss, Peanut punch, Lemon and Ginger, Pineapple and Ginger, Sorrel, Soursop, Berry Moss … just a variety of natural juices that I provided for the community, because there was nobody doing it. So, I saw the opportunity; I embarked upon it and it was successful,” Rolle recalled.
“I did that for a number of years and then the storms came in 2004, 2005 and I took a brief break. During that break it came to me that I needed to elevate and really come with a major location and provide other services. Freeport, at that time, did not have a healthy restaurant; everything was just fast foods. So, in 2008 when the vision came to me that was the prime time for me to embark on the actual shop.
“In 2009 Livity opened and from inception, it was well received by the Grand Bahamian public. The first location was at John Rolle Furniture Plaza in the heart of Downtown, and that went well. Years after we opened a location in Port Lucaya, in 2013, and then we opened another location in the Circle Mall in 2015.
“In 2016, Hurricane Mathew came, and that damaged the John Rolle location and because of the tourists’ market being affected by the storm and the hotel that was later closed in Port Lucaya, I had to close the second location because it was not profitable,” he added.
“We had the Circle Mall location up and running until September 2019 … when Hurricane Dorian came things changed. If the storm did not come, we would still be at that location. However, we were able to get a satellite smoothie bar up and running at Out Da Sea and we are patiently waiting for the renovations to be completed at the Circle Mall, so that we can resume business to our patrons.”
Rolle noted that he has a few plans, which he did not want to disclose at the time of the interview. However, he assured, “We have plans to, hopefully, have more locations as the economy grows in Grand Bahama. At this moment, we don’t want to go too big because of the condition of Grand Bahama, but as things progress we are definitely going to branch out and we may even end up on another island.”
Although challenged through difficult times, Rolle said residents are becoming more aware about healthy living which played a major part in his company remaining open.
“We have a lot of persons in the community that either has diabetes, cancer or some ailment and people are becoming more proactive, so they want to be consistent with healthy eating habits and at Livity we provide the healthiest food in a clean environment. We prepare Alkaline food, vegetarian dishes, a variety of smoothies, fresh juices, and we have become a household name per say.
“Customers would come here, and their kids would request smoothies; I think it is just something about Livity where we have become family with our customers. So, wherever we go they follow us and it has just been growing from one thing to the next. The store has been received well by the community,” added the founder.
Noting that consistency has played a major role in his business being successful, Rolle advised other entrepreneurs interested in opening their own businesses, to enjoy what they do. “It is important to enjoy what you do.
“Also, good customer service is very important and quality products and service makes a difference. But whatever you embark upon, make sure you enjoy doing it. Once you enjoy doing your work, you would not count it as work and that is very important.
“A lot of people get into things that they don’t really have that interest in and I think, eventually, they lose interest especially if it is not profitable. But because I enjoy what I do, that makes a major difference.”
He added, “Business fluctuates, it is seasonal because we have our good days, we have our bad days; however, it is all about proper management and being consistent.
“I enjoyed my work from 1996 until this day, interacting with the customers and to see their response after sampling our drinks, smoothies and food. Just seeing the smiles on their face does something for me.”
Rolle concluded by sharing he would like to see more residents become health conscience and made an appeal to persons to change their eating habits.
“Our motto at Livity is ‘Be Smart and Eat Smarter,’ because we have a sickly nation. If you look at the statistics, you will definitely see what I am saying, so I would advise persons to try an adapt a healthy lifestyle. Don’t wait for the doctor to tell you that you must change your eating habits. The Bahamian diet is highly acidic, there is a lot of starch – rice, potato salad and macaroni – but we just have to make healthier choices,” said Rolle.