Nearly a year after the destruction of his business center, Hotel Alvino, by some disgruntled youths in Ganta, a resilient Prince Howard has opened a garment factory in that city.
The factory, which goes by the name, “TDK Elegant House,” will produce large assortment of clothes at cheaper prices compared to imported clothes.
Howard, Chief Executive Officer of the enterprise, told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview that the factory will produce t-shirts, uniforms of all kinds, shirts and blouses, underwears such as boxer shorts, among others.
“Instead of the government contracting a foreign company to sew uniforms for security personel we now can do it right here,” he said.
He explained that when the factory gets into full swing, Liberians would no longer have to travel to Asia; it would be easier for Liberians who travel to Asia to come to his factory to get their clothes made for their businesses.
When this reporter visited the factory, there were scores of young people undergoing training to operate the machines.
Miss Pinky Nyanquee, an apprentice, expressed satisfaction having the factory in Ganta and said it would help lessen the unemployment rate.
“This is my first time seeing these kinds of machines and I am so happy to undergo such a training to also enable me to be part of the employees,” she added.
The newly established factory, which is almost at the opening stage, has brought in qualified young Liberian tailors from all parts of the country to lecture and spearhead production.
Abraham Fanbulleh, Acting Production Manager, said the factory will produce quality clothes of international standard to compete with other designers.
“The production will be like normal days Aureole, but this time it is going to have an advanced flavor in it owing to the type of equipment we have here,” he said. During the 1970s and 1980s, Auriole, owned by A. Benedict Weeks, was the largest and most renowned supplier of uniforms to schools in the country.
Mr. Howard said he started his entrepreneurial vision with just L$5,000 as a moneychanger in Ganta in1998 and has today, by the grace of God and hard work, become a successful business man.
He owns the Alvino Hotels in Ganta and Yekepa, a three storey building on Ganta Main Street and other small businesses. During a violent protest last year over the alleged ‘ritualistic death’s of a motorcyclist, the Alvino Hotel, Howard’s residence and the three storey building in Ganta were ransacked and set ablaze by an angry mob for Howard’s alleged role in the brutal murder of the motorcyclist, named Festus.
Several residents of Ganta were arrested by state security but their fate is yet to be decided.
Since last year, Mr. Howard’s Alvino Hotel and other places have remained in ruins, owing to what he described as financial constraints. However, there is rehabilitation work going on at the Alvino Hotel. He said he had hoped the government could come in to assist.
Meanwhile, Mr. Howard used the occasion to call on his compatriots to invest in their native land as a means of creating jobs for the jobless, because the government cannot do all.
“No one can make this country what it is. It is only Liberians who can make it better,” he noted. “This land cannot transform itself, except we, the citizens, get involved and start transforming it.”