Star performers

Personality-driven Experiences

Driving down the road between Roseau and Champagne, Dominica, you are likely to encounter a mighty personality.

Marvina is a successful local entrepreneur who has built up a business ("Marvina's" bar) largely on the basis of her own character. The location seems less than ideal - it's an isolated, narrow strip of land between the road and the sea,. There is no beach, no other buildings nearby, and there are far more "interesting" locations (a snorkelling beach, a fishing village) a couple of kilometers in each direction.

But it is precisely this isolation which makes the location work for Marvina - a natural star, she is able to fill all that space with her own presence. Nearly every car that drives by is greeted with a booming "Hey!". Inevitably, many stop - sooner or later. As a natural part of the ensuing conversation, she will find out your name and offer you a drink. You sit down, take a sip, and - click - you are a regular. Before you know it, Marvina will have laughingly introduced you to members of her family, advised you sternly on the snorkelling conditions and serenaded you with a sentimental gospel or two. You may find yourself helping to hang up some fairy lights or moving a heavy cooler, and you'll certainly be promising to come back soon.

Marvina's bar is not built any differently from many others on the Island. It is welcoming, but simple. After all, it needs do little more than provide her with a "stage". You don't go there for the architecture, or even for the (excellent) rum punch. You go there to hang out with - and be part of - Marvina's crowd.

(Marvina's strong personality works for her outside her home territory too. In her oft-repeated TV interview she wears a natty hat, tells the world how wonderful the Prime Minister is at keeping his word, and thanks him profusely for promising to help her build her deck. Get out of that one, Mr Skerrit.)

Marvina's bar is going to be a success. It would work equally well if she were managing it for someone else - as long as that person were brave enough to let her be the star. Some experiences can be carried by a strong personality - if it's the right one, and if it is given room to work. If you have a Marvina on your crew, let her sing!

(I'll have a Video Blog on Marvina's bar available soon. Watch this space.)

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