Sachi Shi­tara drives the Toy­ota Ja Café

Jamaica Gleaner - - FLAIR FEATURE - Randy Bow­man As­sis­tant Life­style Edi­tor

FIVE YEARS ago, Sachi Shi­tara came to Ja­maica as an em­ployee of the Ja­pan Em­bassy based in Ja­maica. She loved it here and de­cided to find a rea­son to stay af­ter her ‘term’ ended.

“I was shocked and happy to find out UWI (Univer­sity of the West Indies) of­fered a mas­ter’s pro­gramme in her­itage stud­ies, and I ap­plied,” shared Shi­tara.

Two years later, Shi­tara be­came the busi­ness de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant at Toy­ota Ja­maica, a job she thor­oughly en­joys.

In Fe­bru­ary, Toy­ota Ja­maica opened a spank­ing new lo­ca­tion on Old Hope Road to bet­ter fa­cil­i­tate its grow­ing clien­tele. Be­ing the out-of-the-box thinker she is and her job as­sign­ments, Shi­tara’s of­fice got a new home, this time be­hind the

counter of the en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly Toy­ota Ja­maica Café.

Like most things she puts her hands to, within months the café started to brew up some steam­ing re­views. Open 8 to 5 on week­days and 10 to 2 on Satur­days, the clients of the car com­pany were pleased to en­joy warm pas­try and au­then­tic Ja­maican Blue Moun­tain Cof­fee or nat­u­ral teas, to name a few.

Shi­tara knew she had to equip her­self for the new port­fo­lio given, and flew to the United States for a few months for for­mal barista train­ing.

But the en­thused young woman re­turned to the is­land with more than just doc­u­ments. She had an arse­nal of ideas to stir things up at the café.

“I got the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence cof­fee and tea blends of all kinds, and I wanted to come back to Ja­maica and share what I had learned. Ja­maica has one of the best lo­cally grown cof­fee and there are so many dif­fer­ent ways to serve it,” she said with glee.

EX­CIT­ING DRINK OF­FER­INGS

From pump­kin spice lat­tes to hibis­cus berry teas, Shi­tara takes pride in all the prod­ucts of the café, down to the bag given to take-out pa­trons. The bags, made from The Gleaner newsprint, are dis­played af­ter be­ing care­fully put to­gether to en­sure the Toy­ota Ja­maica ads or an up­lift­ing head­line is there for all to see.

With a back­ground in origami and a knack for DIYs, it was like sec­ond na­ture for Shi­tara, who of­ten sur­prises the clients with the bags. On a few oc­ca­sions, per­sons have ex­pressed an in­ter­est in buy­ing just the bags that aptly dis­play up­lift­ing mes­sages via the pub­lished head­lines.

As en­thused as she was five years ago about Ja­maica, Shi­tara is ex­cited to con­tinue her drive in mak­ing her given port­fo­lio one that leaves a last­ing trail.

‘I got the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence cof­fee and tea blends of all kinds, and I wanted to come back to Ja­maica and share what I had learned.’

PHO­TOS BY GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

A closer look at the pa­per bags is­sued at the Toy­ota Ja­maica Café.

Origami ex­pert and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant with Toy­ota Ja­maica Lim­ited, Sachi Shi­tara, shows off her pa­per bag made just for per­sons on the go.

Like most things Shi­tara puts her hands to, within months the café started to brew up some steam­ing re­views.

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