Not every Barbadian Shop is a Rum Shop, but most of them do sell Rum as well as groceries and odd household goods. A lot of them go back generations and are kept as family concerns.
In many of them you can get local delicacies such as the Bajan Fishcake and even full lunches of Cou Cou and Saltfish or Sandwiches and Wraps made with Bajan produce. Depending on when you visit, morning through evening, you will likely meet a range of people from Construction to White Collar Workers and housewives or handymen.
The Barbadian Shop is a meeting place by tradition. In them you can sit, or stand, for hours discussing politics or the previous night’s television programming. With music in the background and friendly no-nonsense owners behind the counter, it is often more of a social/entertainment venue than merely the place to by a Bandaid or litre of milk.
Many a Barbadian Shop doubles as home and business. Some grew from small beginnings with the home-owner selling maybe from a window or side-door, until time and funds allowed expansion of both the dwelling and the fare.
It is not easy to tell though which started as shop and had a home attached or which started as a home. Some Shop-Keepers moved into their shops as business grew, abandoning and sometimes relocating the family premises, in order to keep track of business and be on hand for those valuable early morning and late evening clients. Some added rooms to their homes as the customers increased, and made improvements on the shop facility over the years. Others started as fairly large homes which need no alterations other than setting up the shop in a part that best suited the owner’s requirements.
Whichever way, the Barbadian Shop has been the mainstay in small and big communities, and a cornerstone of the Bajan way of life.
The Barbadian Shop. Ever a big part of our heritage and ancestry.