Ms Shadel Nyack Compton is an entrepreneur who has managed to merge history, commerce, agriculture, tourism and environmental and community responsibility into a single viable enterprise that is the Belmont Estate in Grenada. The estate, which was a traditional agricultural plantation during the eras of slavery and colonialism, and which had fallen into ruin, was revived by Ms. Nyack Compton as a successful tourist attraction, producer of organic agricultural products, and a source of material and intangible enrichment to the community.
Belmont Estate was bought over by Ms. Nyack Compton’s grandparents in the 1940s, making them the first Indo-Grenadians to own a plantation. Despite its success up to the 1960s, by the late 1990s when Ms. Nyack Compton took it over, the estate employed about 10 persons on a casual basis and had all but stopped producing. In the early part of the 21st century, the new proprietor started a small restaurant, created a small museum documenting the history of the estate, and began offering tours and other cultural and educational events at the site.
Ms. Nyack Compton’s persistence paid off when she invited a group of tour operators in 2002, and they were enthused enough about the facility to generate interest and clientele. The agricultural production, which had slowed down, was revived and increased. In 2004, only two years after commencing the tourism department of the business all the tourism facilities, the plantation house, most of the farming buildings and facilities were devastated by Hurricane Ivan. There was equal destruction to the tree crops and fields. To further exacerbate the loss, in 2005, the estate was hit by another hurricane – Emily. These hurricanes resulted in significant loss, and resulted in the tourism department being closed for three years. It resumed operations in 2007.
Today, the estate employs some 90 persons full time, plus another 20 temporary or part time staff, is organic and fair trade certified for its cocoa, nutmegs, spices, and fruits, and has created partnerships with other local businesses, like the Grenada Chocolate Company (which uses the estate’s cocoa for chocolate production), the Grenada Craft Cooperative, and the Grenville Co-operative Credit Union, which operates an outlet on the estate, and several farmers, tour operators, and hotels on the island. It offers tours, a 250-seat restaurant, conference room, museum, goat dairy that produces goat’s cheese for the local market, value added products, beautiful gardens, farm and exotic animals, plant nursery and a vibrant charity arm. Ms. Nyack Compton is presently preparing for the opening of Belmont Estate’s own chocolate factory early next year.
Concretely, Ms. Nyack Compton’s success as an entrepreneur can be illustrated by the growing income and tourist arrivals to the estate. Belmont Estate had an income of (XCD) $669,006 in 2002, and by 2015 it had grown to $2,287,788. Visitor arrivals grew from 1,248 guests in 2002 to 27,919 guests in 2015.
She did not start her career as a business person. Born in the UK (1964), Ms. Nyack Compton was trained as a lawyer at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in the United States, and at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad & Tobago. A mother of two, she still practices law in Grenada. Her decision to move into business was born out of a desire to contribute to the well-being of her people and country and to revive her family’s traditional business. She is extremely passionate about her business that offers customers high quality products and services and extraordinary experiences, and she uses it as an avenue to inspire and develop others, and for education, research and philanthropy.
Ms. Nyack Compton has been recognized many times for her endeavours. She has received awards from the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (2010 & 2015), and was named Businesswoman of the Year (2013) by that organization. She was recognized by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (2014), and Belmont Estate was conferred several awards and citations for service, responsible & sustainable development of agriculture and tourism, environmental stewardship, and has been awarded certificates of Service Excellence by the international tourism rating website, Trip Advisor ( 2013 – 2016).