After a rough two years for restaurants, bars, and the entertainment sector the past few months have been a breath of fresh air.
Several well-known spots have closed their doors, and in their place fresh new faces have emerged.
One such new spot is Decky’s at One Woodbrook Place, which has emerged as a new go-to for many since it opened its door in November.
The fact that the spot has become a new hub for nightlife should not come as a surprise given the fact it was named after a man well known to be the life of the party.
“Decky’s was the nickname of one of our best friends. His name was Dexter Pollard, he died in a car accident in 2019,” said co-owner Earl Frederick.
Pollard was a 50-year-old school teacher who suffered a heart attack while driving along the Uriah Butler Highway and crashed into a highway billboard in July 2019.
While brainstorming about a name, the quartet of owners settled on one that would honour him.
“He was the ultimate limer. You walk into this mixer and three-quarters of the people would know him. So when we were looking for a name, one of our partners came up with this because we were butting our heads for a name for a long while. He said fellas I have the name. He said Decky’s and he walked off. All were in agreement immediately,” said Frederick.
However, getting to the point of the opening was not a smooth process. The owners of the burgeoning bar and bistro explained they struggled with bureaucratic issues as well as the challenges of the pandemic as they attempted to start the business.
“Well, it had certain aspects of starting a business that was difficult or proved to be a little task. Something as simple as getting a bank account. The reason we were given was because of the nature of the business that we were getting into. But it wasn’t a situation where we just walked up the street and went and filled out a form and had a bank account. It took some time and it took some doing,” said Frederick.
However, the Decky’s team had enough financial resources among the group to overcome this initial setback.
“Fortunately for us, we really didn’t have to go the way of financial institutions. It’s four of us in the business and we made a decision. And we got into this business, started this business or rather started the wheels into motion for the business just before COVID. We actually opened this business in the midst of COVID when restrictions were eased enough for us to do so. So, as I say, we really didn’t have to go through the whole gamut of let’s say, without (the support of) a financial institution, like a bank to get a loan or to do business proposals and so on and so on. We did it. We did it for ourselves,” said Frederick, “Of course, we did all due diligence. You know, is it is money we taking from our pockets. It’s self-financed project. We basically had to make sure that you know, we’re comfortable with this decision. Taking our own cash to start our business.”
In the process, Decky’s became the only black-owned business at One Woodbrook Place at the time. Frederick explained the experience of going into business was eye-opening, as he realised there were more Afro-Trinidadian businesses than he had realised. However, for one reason or another, they appeared to be lesser known or visible than other brands.
Brunch at Decky’s
Photo courtesy Decky's Facebook page
“The question of visibility is one that I guess, we may not be directly in a position to answer. But what we’ve realised since we got into business is that there were more black-owned businesses than we realise. So now that we in the business and we networking and me talking to various people. Who doing stuff from their homes, who doing stuff in small and medium enterprises. We are getting to realise that there was more than we know,” he said.
Ray Lynch, another co-owner at Decky’s, said in some cases he realised the Afro-Trinidadian owners were a bit more cautious for various reasons.
“It could be just that as black people we are not wanting to show our hand for fear of a number of things, so we don’t know. Other ethnicities may show their hand and that kind of thing. But I just think that black businesses and black owners kind of keep to themselves because of circumstances,” said Lynch.
This they explained made it seem like there were fewer black-owned businesses around than there are in reality.
“So it may be a situation where people might think or might not think it’s a black-owned business, but it really is because a lot of people didn’t realise that we were black-owned. They didn’t expect us to be a black-owned business in this space. It’s only when they realise that we are here every day. You know, people came to the understanding that we are black-owned, and we don’t hide it, we are very proud of it. At the time when we came we were the only black-owned business on this stretch here,” said Frederick who explained that months after they opened, another establishment owned by an Afro-Trinidadian businessman opened at One Woodbrook Place.
Frederick however noted that some did make assumptions about their business and even their political affiliation.
“So I guess some people don’t want to alienate customers and potential customers by showing who they are in terms of ownership,” he said, referring to one barbershop visit where the bar was labelled as connected to a political party due to the predominant colour used on its sign.
However, Lynch assured Decky’s was open to everyone.
“It’s a place where all are invited and all are always welcome to feel comfortable. Yeah. Black, white, Asian, male, female, indifferent, you name it. All are welcomed, safe environment, we protect everyone,” he said, “we got to make sure that so it’s a really safe enjoyable environment relaxed, what we consider a relaxed atmosphere. And it was bred out of a bond of friendship, four cool guys coming together.”