Breadline Plaza opened its doors Saturday with a Flea Market in the morning, and a Grand Opening in the afternoon, complete with a fun fashion show, music by DJ Kevin, tasty free baked goods for all from the newly opened “Bizzy B” bakery and complimentary drinks. The opening ceremony began with Father Danilo Pastor holding a prayer with the gathered crowd. He thoroughly blessed each of the shops, especially the bakery, so that its “daily bread may taste heavenly.” The fashion parade was a crowd pleaser with cutely dressed-up children, flamboyantly attired youth and a cheerful crowd. The last to go on the catwalk with a great girl power spirit were the managers of the businesses. All the businesses opening their doors in the new commercial and social hub of Windwardside are highly determined women. The complex hosts Saba’s Dutch bakery, “Bizzy B,” Saba Eye Care Optical shop, which will substantially cut related healthcare cost, “Blue Mint” clothing and accessories boutique, as well as Colombian-owned “Verdier” island foods and drinks shop. The largest building houses Island Communications Service (ICS) with its array of mailing, ordering, Internet access, real estate, DVD or car rental services. The business women have it all planned out; first you attract customers with enticing baked-goods aromas, than you bedazzle them with fashion clothing, and colour their world with shades and glasses, giving them a new perspective on life. Next you make your way into their hearts with some spicy island food, and finally you let them rest in the quaint square with flower roundels and wood benches, while all their business needs are taken care of.
The architecture is typically Saban from ground stonework to the roofs, but updates it with the latest standards in commercial hosting downstairs, and five spacious residential apartments upstairs. For those, who thought the private sector cannot devise its own tourism plan, this complex devised to host it all, a local heritage theme, a civic meeting hub, a parking lot, public restrooms and a child-friendly environment. It helps that the place has a history, being the social gathering place of past generations, where the elderly would recount stories, while waiting for their bread.
The complex is a triumph to the Petersons’ vision and fortitude and a statement to their civic-minded commitment. The naysayers thought this project too ambitious and criticized it as an eyesore mall. Breadline Plaza owner Stanley Peterson respectfully reflected that critics could not see his vision and that he hopes they are happy with the end result. Peterson was the first developer on Saba to call on an archaeological team to examine the grounds and preserve the past before development. His vision was to ensure that the complex is built to honour local heritage. He thanked his parents Eddy and Evette, as well as his expecting wife Barbara, without whose support he said this would not be possible. Age 39, Peterson spoke of self-determination in pursuing his dream, the years spent in heavy construction work abroad, the perseverance of saving and smart banking, being in constant lookout for design ideas and finally returning to invest in his native land. He devised the functional layout based on small European plazas he visited and got a professional Florida-based architect and local labour force to finalize the project. Elated by the large turnout and support, Peterson recommended “all Saban youngsters, follow your dream. You have to work for it.”