One Good Deed Leads to Another, and Another, and Another… November 29, 2015 9:07 PM


In Barbados, Tent 73 does not have a cinema industry network which would enable them to sell Gold Hearts through multiple theatre locations. In fact, until very recently, Barbados had just one large single-screen cinema, one small one single-screen cinema and one drive-in.   In 2010 Olympus Theaters opened the first multi-screen theatre in Barbados. The facility features eight state-of-the-art air-conditioned Cinemas with superior sound and picture quality, all with comfortable seating. The individual cinemas are named after famous cities such as Bridgetown, Cairo, Miami, Havana, London and Hong Kong and have auditoriums with seating capacity for between one hundred and fifty to two hundred patrons.

The lone Drive-In was upgraded to a bigger and better screen and has the audio available on a radio channel that can be accessed from the car. The newest addition to the cinema industry in Barbados is found in the luxurious Limegrove Mall. The mall features 85,000 sq. ft. of local and global retailers with international brands such as Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Villebriquin and Piguet. The cinema reflects the ambience of this high end complex with spacious, super-comfortable seating and in-your-face customer service for drinks and snacks. While the new and improved cinemas have revamped movie going in Barbados, there is still not enough volume to concentrate Gold Hearts sale around the movie industry, even when there is a showing of a movie associated with the Gold Heart Pin theme. Since necessity is the mother of invention, Tent 73 was forced to invent its own distribution strategy for selling Gold Hearts.

Barbados’ Gold Hearts season officially starts at the end of January and runs until Valentine’s Day. The Gold Heart sellers may or may not be members or volunteers of Variety as, during this time, we engage the assistance of the school clubs, school’s Parent Teachers Associations, doctors’ offices, supermarket chains and commercial banks. To encourage sales, we have a competition among the sellers with prizes for the most hearts sold. The supermarket chains are manned by Variety volunteers and while there is no official prize for the most sold, there still exists a spirit of competition to determine which location sold the most hearts. In an effort to be fair, the prizes groups are allocated for primary schools, secondary schools and commercial banks. The prizes range from dinner for two in fine dining restaurants to “staycations” (weekend getaways for locals at a local hotel). The results of this competition has been phenomenal. Inevitably, one or two persons within each banking chain would grab the heart by the horns and sell as many as 500 hearts in the two to three week period.

One such person is Justin Burke of the Royal Bank of Canada, Barbados. Justin started selling Gold Hearts in 2011 and has been in the top sellers of his commercial branch of Royal Bank of Canada since then. His enthusiasm for the sale of Gold Hearts is matched only by his enthusiasm for customer service and his genuine, kind approach to his work. His approach to charitable activities is just as enthusiastic. In 2015, Justin eclipsed his record of 370 pins when he sold a record-breaking 680 Minions hearts. A feat he accomplished over two weeks during work hours while he continued to efficiently serve as a Client Care Representative at the Lanterns Mall branch. Justin is always enthusiastic about the sale of Gold Hearts and sets himself bigger targets each year. He calls to update Variety on his sales and is proactive about ordering replacement before he runs out of hearts. It was therefore no real surprise when Variety Barbados was called into the Royal Bank of Canada’s Lantern Mall’s branch to receive a donation. The donation was the direct result of Justin’s efforts over the years. In the past, Justin has been rewarded by Variety with dinners at fine dining restaurants and mini vacations at Barbados’ finest hotels. The RBC Community Leadership Award is a double whammy for Justin. While the Leadership Award recognizes his efforts with Variety and in the other ventures he participates in to assist various other communities, the award also comes with a contribution to his favorite charity, Variety, of US $1,000 made by the bank, on behalf of Justin.  The Award was granted to Justin from among his colleagues throughout the Caribbean where RBC is found.

“The RBC Community Leadership Award is a Caribbean wide program that recognizes compassionate, energetic, and enthusiastic individuals across Caribbean Banking who demonstrates outstanding volunteerism within their community.” The awards is representative of RBC’s effort to “always strive to contribute to and build the communities in which (they) operate.” The Leadership Award also seeks to reward volunteerism with one or more organisations, at sponsored events within the community, activity in the Bank’s programmes and fundraising for causes or community projects. The bank encourages employees to give back in any way they can. Calls for nominations for the award are sent out twice a year. The nomination must be endorsed by supervisors. The final decision rests with the Heads of Commercial & Capital Markets and Personal Banking of RBC.

To learn more about Variety of Barbados, click here