Chingford man opens Caribbean store after years on benefits

A father-of-four has opened a Caribbean grocery store after spending eight years on benefits.

Bradly Parry said that opening the store has given him a new lease of life.

Parry, known to his customers as Derek, opened Jerk Spice, Chingford’s first Caribbean shop, in October 2016. He says the business has gone “from strength to strength”.

He lost his job as a pub landlord in 2008 when the business was suffering due to the introduced smoking ban. Parry began searching for work.

Although he picked up part-time jobs in security, he was diagnosed with diabetes and had to re-evaluate his situation.

However, being unemployed and suffering from ill-health only made the 42-year-old of Prospect Hill, Walthamstow more determined to become his own boss.

After being given £9,000 from East London Small Business Loans his dream was realised when he opened his shop in Old Church Road, Chingford.

“You just have to have people around you that encourage you in whatever you do and are positive.

“If you don’t have that help it is really challenging to start a business on your own.

“When I am working I don’t worry about my diabetes. It keeps me occupied.

“It was just something I needed to do.”

Parry admits he faced challenges at the beginning, starting out with just £500 to buy stock. However, he says things are slowly improving and he is now able to pay rent and business rates.

Jerk Spice has a range of dried and fresh foods, meat, fish, herbal teas and health foods on offer.

The shopkeeper is originally from Jamaica and has been living in the UK for 18 years.

Although Chingford was not his first choice when looking for a suitable area, he said he knows he made the right decision.

TNT Business

Photo Credit: Tavallai

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