August 17, 2012
Boyea fed up, wants vendors moved from under KFC gallery

The local holder of the KFC franchise has informed the Kingstown Town Board that from Sunday, any “obstructions to the free flow of customers” or any “unlawful attachments” to their property {{more}} located at the corner of Grenville and Melville Street, will be forcibly removed.

O.A. Ken Boyea, chair of St Clair Investment Ltd., franchise holder of KFC, in an August 7 letter to the Warden of the Kingstown Town Board, detailed what he said are the negative impacts to his business of the vendors who ply their trade on the sidewalk under the KFC gallery.

He said the Kingstown Town Board has not taken action, although his business has complained several times.

“I have reached the end of my patience and I am unable to tolerate this situation any longer. The vendors use the excuse that they have Town Board’s permission to set up their stalls against our property. We have appealed to you before and, for whatever reason, you have taken no action,” Boyea said in his letter.

He said the vendors have reduced pedestrian traffic to single file, which is dangerous to families with children, and the place has “in recent times become unhygienic and unsightly”.

He said KFC is subject to inspection by overseas auditors and “the recurring images presented of the outside of this restaurant could potentially make us lose our franchise”.

Boyea said his company takes special pride “to keep our buildings at a standard of which Vincentians can be proud.

“Do you think it is fair for others to bring down the standards to the level of those who do not have the same price? Don’t you find it ironic that the buildings with low standard somehow do not attract the dirty wooden benches and stalls?”

He further said that an employee at a store on the opposite side of the street parks his motorbike under the KFC gallery — blocking an archway — and said his boss instructed him to do so.

Some vendors, Boyea said, have driven nails into the stonework of the building to hang merchandise and these nails stick out in a dangerous manner and children have been seriously injured by them.

KFC used to be able to clean its gallery twice daily, but it is hardly able to sweep it now because of the crowded nature of the gallery, the businessman said.

“… Our customers who are seated at the windows inside the restaurant have full view of the unpleasant scene as they eat,” Boyea said.

Minister of Transport and Works Julian Francis, to whom the letter was copied, told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that he intends to discuss the matter with the vendors.

Francis, whose portfolio includes responsibility for the Kingstown Board, said: “I like a conversation. … I intend to have discussions. I never rush into anything”.