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Sep 15, 2020

Caribbean Treasures, T-Shirt Factory Finds a Permanent Home

This week we feature a small family business that has grown leap and bounds and has carved it niche in the private sector. Caribbean Treasures started with an inventory of imported T-shirts, and while it has maintained T-shirts at the core of the business, it has branched to embroidery and screen printing. These days it is entered the tourism sector and selling souvenirs. The success of the company lies in the team work of the Hohenkirk family that has retained the Belizean flavour throughout their production lines. Duane Moody reports on the enduring T-Shirt factory. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

It first started as a small business out of a garage back in 2001; fast track to 2020, Caribbean Treasures has blossomed into a well-known Belizean company own and managed by Ray and Kathleen Hohenkirk.

 

Kathleen Hohenkirk

Kathleen Hohenkirk, Co-Owner, Caribbean Treasures

“We offer a variety of services, embroidery, screen printing, we do promotional printing. We do designing of your logo; we offer set up of gift shops and those are among a few things that we do. Our customers range from the very small businesses that want a few shirts; we have corporate businesses. We also do a lot of the tourism industry, government.”

 

The company would expand to cater to the cruise tourism industry as the Tease Gift Shop at the Old Belize was birthed offering souvenirs among Belizean branded shirts and other memorabilia.

Years later, the Hohenkirks would see a third business emerge, bringing their daughters onboard the management team. The T-Shirt Factory, which is known for its quality print T-shirts, swimsuits and much more, has over the years distinguished itself from the rest, offering wholesale and retail on in-house or customised designs.

Nikita Hohenkirk is the Marketing Director for both companies.

 

Nikita Hohenkirk

Nikita Hohenkirk, Marketing Director, Caribbean Treasures/T-Shirt Factory

“For the location purpose it is a really good move. I think God has been listening to our endless conversations about wanting to find something for us to be together. The truth is, as much as it is four of us, you can’t be in two places at once and sometimes the days are hectic, the gas and time that you waste ‘di bun’ basically to go from point A to point B, you miss different people and different opportunities.”

 

The family is very hands on with the business. The youngest of the bunch is Ritisha Hohenkirk; she is knowledgeable in operating the printing apparatus of the business, but following her studies at Saint John’s College Junior College, Ritisha went on to become the graphics manager for T-Shirt Factory. Together with Nikita, she creates these unique Belizean pieces with an international appeal.

 

Ritisha Hohenkirk

Ritisha Hohenkirk, Graphics Director, Caribbean Treasures/T-Shirt Factory

“We’ve been able to go out of the country and see what the rest of the world has. And what we try to do is bring the service—not only the shirts and everything, but the customer care to Belize. The problem that we have been seeing in Belize is that there is not a lot of customer care that’s proper. You have to know how to set that border. You can’t just make it all about abroad because of course Belizeans love Belize. You can hear something that happens in the states or a phrase and you can make it Belizean. Things like that is what helps us; it is that we try to really keep that Belizean culture and still give them that international feel and ambience.”

 

All those tireless nights of planning have now led to the reopening of its new home on the Philip Goldson Highway in what has quickly become one of the ideal thoroughfares for commerce. Patron Cereta Cooke was the first customer to have made it to the new location.

 

Cereta Cooke

Cereta Cooke, Customer

“I was scrolling on Instagram and I saw the promotion and I said let me go and check it out. And I was the first customer and the location is very central, people can access it easily. Inside the store is beautiful and the staff is very accommodating, very helpful and it was a very good experience.”

 

Kathleen Hohenkirk, who is also the Sales Director, shares the secret to the family’s success over the years.

 

Kathleen Hohenkirk

“It’s been a challenge over the years. With every business you know what you put in is what you get out. The hard work, the endless hours; it’s just been a real task to get it to where we are today and we are very happy that we have accomplished this mission. We are happy for all our customers that have been supporting us over the years; our family and friends of course. And thank God, without him and the blessings, this would never be possible.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Opening hours are from nine a.m. to six p.m. from Monday to Friday and then from nine a.m. to five p.m. on Saturdays.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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