had always had good, stable jobs with expense accounts, going off on this tangent.”
That didn’t stand in her way. She kept her job at Avery, while an accountant and contractors–all close friends–waited in the wings for the loan to be approved. By August 1996, the wait was over. “We closed the deal on Friday, gutted the restaurant over the weekend, laid the last floor tile at 6:55 p.m. on Monday and had the opening at 7:30 p.m.,” remembers James.
She had intended to keep her $76,000-a-year job with Avery for at least the first year of the business, but the enormous demands of running the restaurant forced her to quit three months later. The Jamaican Care, with its staff of 12 and seating for 65, quickly acquired a following, including such celebrities as the Wayans Brothers, Roseanne Barr and Michael Keaton. Within the cafe’s sponged gold walls and wooden shell- carved chairs, diners savor such specialties as the Escoveitched Snapper and Conch Fritters.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would pay off all my personal debt first,” says James. This problem, however, may soon be rectified if revenues reach the projected target of $40,000 a month, which includes 30% in profits.
Her bottom line advice: “If you find yourself miserable, count your blessings. It may prompt you to do something about it.”