News day / It first opened its doors on Valentines Day, 2002 at MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port of Spain, and then moved to Ariapita Avenue where it thrived for ten years. Now, Shakers will be closing at the end of August.
Owner Clayton Archer said he has seen a slow decline in patronage over the years due to a change in Trini liming patterns, mostly because of crime and overzealous tow trucks, among other reasons.
He said people preferred to buy a bottle or case of alcohol and lime at their or a friends home rather than risk getting their car towed, broken into, or being robbed on their way to or from their destination.
He decided to keep the bar open until the end of August to give people and university students the chance to say goodbye. He said it also gives him a chance to make enough money to give his employees a farewell bonus, and to pay off suppliers and any debts so if he decides to re-open at another location, everyone would be back on board.
Weve been looking for a new location for the past five years and I dont think well be able to find one in two months, so were going to close down and figure out our options after that. Weve had a good run. Fifteen years is pretty impressive.
Over the years, Archer has encouraged and supported a number of local rock bands. He would give the bands the entrance fees while Shakers got the bar sales. He said he wanted to help and promote the music that was created by local artistes because very few venues in Port of Spain catered to rock bands. He believes the music has died in Port of Spain but has remained strong in south and central Trinidad.
When members of the local rock fraternity heard the bar was going to close, they wanted to help.
When the boys (in the band LYNCHPiN) heard about it they said, Look Clayton we want to get involved. We want to do whatever we can. Lets do a show. The idea snowballed and many of the bands Shakers hosted over the years decided they too would play a farewell show, resulting in a Shakers farewell concert series. Most bands agreed to take only enough to cover their expenses and allow Shakers to have the rest of the proceeds. Among the names that have been part of the series are LYNCHPiN, Upset The Order, Sidekick Envy, Insert Coin, and soca artist Kees Dieffenthaller.
Scheduled for July 22 are Ballroom Bliss, Joint Pop and Seven Year Itch.
Archer told Sunday Newsday he started in the entertainment industry as a box toter and record crate lifter for a DJ group during his August vacation at the age of 13. They introduced him to many genres of music, which he likes, although he gravitates more towards rock music. Then, when he left school in 1984, he started working in the service industry as a dishwasher on TT s first party boat, The Jolly Roger.
He later became a DJ and a manager, managing bars on both islands, and merging his interests in both the entertainment and service industries.
Despite years of dealing with the intricacies of running a bar, Archer had never owned one.
Although he was managing another bar at the time, an opportunity presented itself to open one in MovieTowne. My wife pushed me. She said, Youre always saying you can open your own bar, so open your own bar! He opened Shakers on February 14, 2002.
His wife, Wendy Archer did all the bookkeeping while he worked both bars. As Shakers became successful, he was given offers for the bar and wanted to sell, but again, Wendy pushed him and told him he should prove he could keep the bar going. Therefore, he left his old job and took on Shakers full-time.
Eventually, however, the bars popularity became too much for its location at MovieTowne, where Häagen-Dazs is now situated.
Archer recalled that there were patrons blocking the corridors, and no one was interested in going further on to the restaurants because most people were stopping to lime at Shakers. He said it led to management telling him they would not renew his lease for another term. Fortunately, a man approached him with the offer to rent a property on Ariapita Avenue. Archer visited the property immediately, liked it and accepted the offer.
Because this venue was more spacious, some friends asked if they could perform and he agreed. The first band to perform was Nigel Ferreira and Nigel Reid. They performed for my wifes birthday. It was great, everyone loved it and said we could do more. From that, it just kept getting bigger and bigger and now we are known for our live rock performances. He has also hosted several calypsonians over the years, including Shadow, Sparrow, Denyse Plummer, Crazy and Baron.
Archer said since the announcement of Shakers closure, several people asked if he would be willing to sell the business and the name. I cant sell the name because I dont want anybody to take it and go in a next direction to where Shakers is at. We could make a lot more money if we sell it but its my baby. Fifteen years! We prefer to keep it and go out on a high note. Its not all about making money and putting it in your pocket.
As the saying goes, you cant take it with you when you dead. Yes, leave some for your children but you need to help people as well.
Its very important to give back find a charity, give someone a job, help out an employee, and dont expect anything back. Its better to leave a nice legacy than to leave money. .
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