Annabelle Carter-Sharma’s ambitious entrepreneurial adventure into the creation of what is envisaged as a three-phase, multi-million-dollar fun park infrastructure marks an attempt to push the frontiers of local children’s entertainment beyond what she considers to be the range of under-fulfilling options that are currently available.
She concedes that there is evidence of the development of a range of franchise operations, but points out that these are limited in their scope, localized and invariably in need of the kinds of thoughtful tweaks that will suitably adapt them as much to the physical and recreational requirements of the children as to some of their critical learning needs. Her game-changer, she believes, is the fact that unlike some of the ‘fun parks’ on the local market today, her initiative allows for children and parents to play and to learn together.
The sense of order reflected in the plan for Euphoria Entertainment Parks is a dead giveaway. An architect by profession, Carter-Sharma has infused her skills into the creation of a plan that reflects as much an eye for design and for detail as a sense of awareness of social trends and a sense of business. It is not difficult to tell that what she seeks to offer is thought through carefully.
The idea, she says, was born out of her own maternal awareness of the limited spaces for children “to gather, to play and to exercise,” a circumstance that limited them to their “daily trips to daycare, play groups, school,” or else, the busy roadways. Arguably, Euphoria Entertainment Parks began with Carter-Sharma’s acquisition in 2012 of her first two pieces of children’s entertainment inventory. They cost US$2,500. In 2012 she acquired a further seven pieces, a move that helped to nourish the vision of a full-fledged children’s entertainment infrastructure.
Euphoria Entertainment Parks is a three-phased initiative that seeks, incrementally, to fashion what is envisaged as perhaps the single largest investment ever in the local children’s entertainment industry. From a business standpoint, Carter-Sharma says, the initiative seeks to fill a long-existing void in the local children’s entertainment market.
The first envisaged phase is an indoor/outdoor facility that will offer 19 pieces of inflatable equipment that can be used by toddlers, children as well as adults. This facility allows for various types of adventure-filled exercise including climbing walls, slides, obstacle courses, water slides and a ball pool.
Phase Two envisages the creation of an eco-park with eight rooms for overnight stay. The plan includes the detailed drawings of the rooms in a resort that overlooks the Demerara River and the layout for the water park dimension to this phase has been provided by the Mexican firm Fibrart. Eventually, Carter-Sharma says, the river bank will be converted into a dock for boats to be launched for fishing, water-skiing and jet skiing.
Phase Three is envisaged as a general play space and science area that will comprise playground equipment for children up to 12 years old, a multi-level playing frame, ball pools and a toddler area. To these have been added the science area, an idea which Carter-Sharma says she brought back home with her from a holiday in Canada. The plan seen by the Stabroek Business also makes allowances for the subsequent creation of a cafeteria and a library. There is a fourth, still underdeveloped phase that focuses on adult play.
Euphoria Entertainment Parks exists now only in the conceptualization stage, but Carter-Sharma says she continues to be driven by her recognition of the fact that nothing remotely resembling such a service exists in Guyana. She believes that by entering the marketplace first and establishing “quality facilities,” it will become and remain a leader in the industry.
The commencement of the first phase of Euphoria Entertainment Parks is awaiting the identification and acquisition of a suitable area of land on which to create the indoor facility. Carter-Sharma has already secured a commercial bank loan with the support of the Small Business Bureau though her land-acquisition efforts are yet to bear fruit. Even now, she says, she is contemplating adjusting her roll-out schedule so that the second phase of the project becomes the first. Meanwhile, she seeks to make her investment in inventory worth the while by providing a service to various children-related events.
What is patently obvious, however, is that Carter-Sharma is not prepared to fall short of her ambition. When you ask her about her expectation for the eventual materialization of Euphoria Entertainment Parks she fixes you with an expression that bares a determination that in the fullness of time she may well pioneer the transformation of children’s entertainment in Guyana.