Local businessman Emile Depooter donated over sixteen thousand dollars in 2020 to assist COVID-related efforts and support charitable organizations in Dominica despite the challenges he faced. Mr. Depooter also had noteworthy changes to his businesses, DEPEX Color Lab Ltd. and WeForward.
“Last year was an eye-opener for me. Despite being troubled by what the world’s going through and not knowing what to do next, I strongly felt that the right action as a businessman was to find ways to give back to Dominica. So we did the following: we donated three thousand dollars ($3000) worth of printed masks, stickers, and other COVID-affiliated materials for distribution island wide; we relieved St Vincent De Paul of two hundred USD in freight charges for shipping tablets to their less fortunate students; we shipped sporting and education items for clubs, schools, and charitable organizations for free; we collaborated with Asa Bantan to cover the cost of education for Dan and DJ Eboo at Adult Education and; we collaborated with Bullseye Pharmacy to carry out a project valued over fifteen thousand dollars. Val and I printed nine (9) billboards highlighting the COVID-19 protocols. The billboards have been erected island wide,” said Emile Depooter.
Mr. Depooter transformed his businesses during the pandemic. His customer base at WeForward grew from under one thousand to over four thousand, while at DEPEX, the customer base remained the same. The significant growth and other factors influenced an online presence, increased employment, staff retention with no salary cuts, and plans for a larger warehouse and retail shops.
While his businesses did well, he suffered losses and learned important lessons. His losses stemmed from:
- the cancellation of events and activities on the island,
- the closure of local companies,
- a decrease in the purchasing power of many individuals,
- people refusing to collect packages,
- a reduction in many businesses’ marketing budgets,
- and having to prepay customs weekly.
Fortunately, his experiences positioned him to improve his business strategies and offer free advice to struggling businesses.
“I faced a lot of challenges, but I learned some hard lessons too. I have learned to be more patient and forward-thinking as a businessman, for starters. Good customer service is crucial to growing a business, so I continue to train my staff in good customer service practices. Also, I focus solely on the solutions to my business problems rather than stressing on the issues at hand. So yes, the cancellation of local events and the fear of my staff and I contracting the virus were challenges. Also, having to pay customs a lot of money upfront while many individuals refuse to collect their packages and dealing with an upswing of daily packages from fifty to five hundred were all challenges I faced. Like any other businessman, I took action. To recover losses from the packages that are not collected, WeForward will eventually sell the items, and penalties and excess storage charges, etc., will incur. I am very excited about moving my offerings online via my websites and improving my strategies to offer more to the public. Also, I look forward to expanding in Dominica and Florida to meet the customers’ growing demands,” said Emile Depooter.
Mr. Depooter expresses gratitude to his staff for their dedication. He looks forward to serving Dominicans here and abroad in 2021 and beyond.
About Emile Depooter
Emile Depooter has been in business for over thirty-three years. His two companies DEPEX Color Lab Ltd., and WeForward, are located on Cork Street, Roseau. Mr. Depooter also manages a warehouse in Florida.
For more information, visit www.weforwardshipping.co.