BY: KRISTINA RAMCHARRAN
The Jamaica National Group also known as JN, held their first ever Expo on March 25th at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton. The Expo ran from 10 am to 7 pm, with people even lined up prior to the Expo opening its doors.
The Expo featured many service booths, most of which promoted and educated the community on JN’s own products and services. Among other booths were media outlets, including G98.7, tourism services, mortgage services, home building companies and more.
Alvin Henderson, the representative at the Jamaica tourism booth said the event proved very popular for exposure of the country, not only by tourism standards but by business standards mainly.
“What I am doing today is promoting brand Jamaica, Jamaica as a tourist destination,” said Henderson on his role at the expo. On the turnout, Alvin said he is happy to talk to many other Jamaicans and tell them more about the hidden gems of their country. “It’s good to actually interact with mostly Jamaicans here,” he said.
Henderson said Jamaica compares to no other country when it comes to tourism. “For me, Jamaica is hands down the best tourist destination…It has the nice view of the sea, the food is right, the atmosphere,” said Henderson.
Chief representative officer at JN Group Canada Jerrold Johnson said that the response to the event was really warm and a great welcoming start. “Our exhibitors are complaining, it’s wonderful,” said Johnson, since they have no time to take a break as they are constantly educating guests about the various products and services available.
After the overwhelming response from the enthusiastic community members, Johnson said: “We are going to have to expand.” “This was really a tester,” added Johnson. He said that the Expo is something JN Group hopes to hold in other locations worldwide including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Cayman Islands.
Johnson said that “The organization has been on point,” in regards to preparing for the Expo. This is also their first event in Canada as their new title JN Group. “We used to be Jamaica National Building Society, and as a building society the two focused products were savings and loans, so mortgages. We always had a group of companies, but people didn’t know all the groups here in Canada. So we wanted to do an Expo to bring people up to be able to get acquainted,” said Johnson.
Jerrold Johnson also saw the Expo as a great medium to push mortgages in Jamaica to the forefront for anyone interested in purchasing a home there. “In Jamaica, it’s about one in two mortgages are done by Jamaica National,” he said, showing the group’s importance and great popularity back in Jamaica.
Johnson was also sure to bring in important government services, such as the passport and immigration booth
The Expo served as a great platform for many youngsters in the community to volunteer and learn essential skills in business and customer service.
Jamaica, Tamia, Chanté, and Roshni were all students volunteering at the Expo and said it was a great opportunity for them.
“I’ve never to anything like this before,” said Tamia, on being able to volunteer at such a large scale event. The girls said they first heard of the Expo from one their teachers and decided to take the opportunity to volunteer.
Jamaica said that she learned one important skill at the Expo, communication. She added, “we had to go around conducting surveys and talking to people.”
Shante and Roshni said that the Expo opportunity helped them break out of their shells. “It taught me how to be more outgoing,” said Shante.
Roshni said that the Expo provided a great ground for networking with others. “You get to meet a lot of people, you get to open up to them,” she said.
The JN Group Expo featured about 20 different booths spread across the hall. In the center was the performance stage which also served as a stage for various seminars. Each of the booths put forth a presentation detailing their products or services giving attendees the chance to have a look at the bigger impacts of the services.
There were also children’s entertainment including a clown and face painting, making the Expo a fun-filled day for the whole family.
As the Expo came to a close, a great number of performances helped end the night off in a big way. The Expo featured performances from a live steel band, Canadian reggae legend Nana Mclean and singers Amoy Levy, Visionary and Jay Douglas. Comedian Jay Martin also made an appearance earlier in the day.
Charles Matthews Jr. of CMJ Entertainment was the host of the night. The JN Group Expo hopes to return next with an even bigger and better setup, and they plan on rolling out other expos across the globe in the future.