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Where Sixth Street Meets Crown Point
My name is Marcus Campo and I run a liquor shop in Tobago.
I’m from Arima but I’m living in Tobago for the past four years. I go back to Arima to visit but I’m in Tobago to stay. I love it! I was welcomed by Tobagonians from the time I first came.
Boy days for me was Calvary Hill, Arima. Bush. I know ‘bout ‘gouti and lappe. I had my little hunting days, back in my teenaged years, catching the little iguana, the little manicou and stuff like that. But hunting with slingshot. And pellet guns. Not them big guns.
You could buy pellet guns over-the-counter in sports stores in Trinidad. But I went to the real home of guns: I spent 11 years in Austin, Texas. I managed an automotive shop there.
I went to Austin’s famous Sixth Street. The South by Southwest Festival was huge. I would go to blues bars in Austin and love the blues, the instrumentation. But when I got home after work, I played Trinidad radio stations on the computer. Good soca and calypso always gets to me.
I come from a big family and have a small family myself: my wife, Sapphire Lopez, my son, Caden, and daughter, Caelan. My son was two years last month and my daughter is a little over three months old. We have the set now and I’m good with that: I’m set with that set.
Right through, right through, customers always asking for all sorts of stuff. We stock plenty beers, plenty liquor, but sometimes we just don’t have it. One guy came in asking for something he knew we don’t stock because he came in the day before and the day before that asking for it. He comes in almost every day asking for it. We never have it. He still asks. Some customers like to make life hard for me but it’s all in good fun. He’s a regular. He loves the store and my personality. And he loves the service. So he’ll come and ask for something we don’t have. He’s just one of quite a few on a long list.
Our liquor shop is on the Crown Point strip, one of the busiest places at night in Tobago. The music is always very loud. Too loud. But I don’t get bothered by it at all. It keeps business flowing in! In fact, the louder, the better!
When you have a liquor store, you get a lot of drunk customers. Plenty. Men, women, young, old. I have had quite a few threatening people, but I’ve never felt personally threatened. There are customers who come in with attitude but, how I deal with customers, it always resolves at the counter.
You can’t be bad-tempered with customers in the service industry. I learned that in Texas. There’re lots of personalities: crazy; cool; and even threatening. And, dealing with all those personalities, I always stayed true to myself: calm; cool; and collected. My boss in Austin installed that into me. I had to build that wall, to deal with him; otherwise, I’d have been long gone from that job. And I kept it for 11 years. But, at the end of the day, I’m in the position I’m in today because of him.
Young people love Hennessy but they could afford it right through. Most people under 30 not wasting time with beer. They love their Hennessy.
The tourists love their red wine and the dry white wine. Those are big movers when tourists are here.
The best thing about the job is meeting people. I love communicating and giving information. I always have wise words for people who have concerns. I’m like a bartender! Must be selling all the alcohol. In the slow periods, there’s less people to meet, but that’s all I could call a “bad” part.
Being a Trini is having fun, enjoying yourself, working hard and also being responsible. Some people lack in that last part so, for them, falling down when drunk is part of being a Trini.
Trinidad & Tobago means a whole lot to me. I want all the best for Trinidad. To see Trinidad as big as it can be on the map through sports and the economy is all I want. And the same goes for Tobago.
Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com
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