Modest but strategically placed, The Courtyard is home to a handful of small businesses, and may not be as popular as some of the more elaborate facilities that have sprung up around the city. The enterprises that populate the mini-mall have their own clientele, though the facility has not generated the hum customarily associated with similar types of spaces. Often, people who come and go do so primarily to utilize the commercial bank ATM facility located in one of its kiosks close the sidewalk on Robb Street.
Proprietor of The Courtyard David Yhann accepts the need to breathe new life into the facility to bring it much closer to the attention of the potentially sizeable clientele that walk or drive by every day. In his conversations with this newspaper he has, from time to time, floated ideas for doing so and it would seem as though a beginning is taking shape.
Starting Friday December 9, and for successive Fridays and Saturdays, The Courtyard will be both marketplace and stage. Handbills, the circulation of which is expected to intensify this weekend, are promoting its excursion into craft, music and theatre. Stalls will offer hand-made décor, art, craft and holiday gift items.
Beyond providing a seasonal market for the vendors, ‘Cre8ive’ (Creative), as the event has been labelled, will offer food, drink and entertainment, including theatre. Apart from the Surinamese musical import, the Maya Band, which will perform on Friday December 16, the retinue of entertainers will include local groups Jammin With Everyone, Jazz & Poetry on a Stool, Feed The Flames and Music Unlimited.
The commercial outcome of the event will also take account of fundraisers targeting the Deaf Association of Guyana and Mercy Wings.
The advent of malls and other controlled spaces as part of the city’s architectural landscape has opened up new urban commercial and entertainment opportunities and Yhann told Stabroek Business that Creative is “very much a pilot initiative” and that in the course of the new year the facility will be seeking to expand its agenda. It fits in with Yhann’s expressed wish to find a marketplace for creative people, whether in the arts or in craft. Part of the focus, too, is on seeking to create a culinary mecca at The Courtyard.
Creative seeks to restore to The Courtyard the weekend popularity which it enjoyed for a period when a succession of snackettes including the now defunct Jerries, were part of the facility and when the occasional barbecue brought in walk-in patrons passing by the Robb Street sidewalk.