Howard’s Driving School is 30
May 22, 2009
Howard’s Driving School is 30

Howard’s Driving School is celebrating a milestone of 30 years of service to the Vincentian public.

Over the past three decades, George Howard, founder of Howard’s Driving School, has witnessed companies owned by local businessmen gobbled up by bigger players or having to close their doors as a result of a lack of interest by their children.{{more}}

This is not the case with Howard, who got married to Norma Providence-Howard in the 1950s. He is the proud father of six children -Alphonzo, Keith, Douglas, Neil, Jillian (fondly called Jill) and Villette. He is quite elated because most of his children have followed his footsteps in the field of business. In some instances, they have taken over the administrative affairs of the businesses he started or have become involved in other business ventures with new partners.

Howard said at an early age, he instilled discipline in his children. As they grew older, they assisted him in cleaning his cars and carrying out mechanic work on them when they needed repairs.

“I try to put in them (the children) the notion that very few black businessmen survive in business. I try to point out to them (children) the need for them to survive,” said Howard, adding, “Black people have to try and keep together. No one man business can make it out.”

Howard’s Driving School received its first major boost when son Keith joined his father in approaching Barclays Bank for a loan to purchase two new Townie cars.

From there on, the business grew and has become a household name in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, with hundreds of Vincentians learning to drive.

According to Howard, Ellsworth ‘Shake’ Keane was one of the first persons who learnt to drive at his school.

Looking back to the period in 1979 when he started his business with his first car (a Hilman Imp), which he bought for $400, Howard said frankly, he has no regrets because it afforded him the opportunity to explore new horizons. Prior to that, he used his brother Cyril Howard’s car to teach people to drive, as well as Cyril Roberts and Bertram Arthur’s cars.

“I should have kept my Hilman Imp. Poor people like me could have only bought used or old cars back then,” said Howard.

At an early age, he developed the knack for selling things, having had practice selling his mother’s sugar cakes on Sundays. He also gained smart business skills by being a close associate of the Austins who were already in business.

“I was always determined to succeed in business. I built a shop and called it ‘Meek’. I reared pigs, I sold eggs, I reared goats and sheep. My involvement in all these areas gave me the urge to keep going on,” said Howard, with a broad smile on his face, as he took a walk down memory lane.

Besides the driving school, today, Howard is a partner in other businesses such as Western Union, Bickles, and the sale of telephone cards.(HN)