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Company History

McEnearney Quality Inc. (MQI) was originally founded in October 1922 as a partnership between Charles McEnearney, who was the then Ford Dealer Principal for Trinidad & Tobago and his friend Charles MacKenzie, a Barbadian businessman who managed the Singer Sewing Machine Agency in the island at the time. The partnership ended on the 4th of July 1933 when the company, named Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd. was incorporated, with Charles MacKenzie being the Ford and Firestone Dealer Principal in Barbados.


Charles McEnearney - Co-Founder
Charles MacKenzie - Co-FounderAt the end of 1923, McEnearneys had sold 68 Model T vehicles. The cost of a Ford car in 1925 was $618.00 (equivalent to about six months' average salary). In 1928 the Model A Ford came onto the market. It was short lived (partly due to the stock exchange crash of 1929) and was superceeded in 1932 by the then famous Ford V8 powered range of vehicles. Sales at McEnearneys in Barbados steadily grew until 1939 when England entered World War II and sales fell precipitously from 111 units to 1 in 1943; 2 in 1944 and 10 in 1945 when the war ended. The following year, sales jumped back to 155 units and again continued to grow with each passing year. The company sold over the years Ford cars, trucks and tractors from Ford USA, Ford UK, Ford Canada, Ford Australia and Ford Japan.

In the 1950's and 60's, the company sold many different types of Ford cars and trucks. Today the names of models like the Prefect, Anglia, Consul, Zephyr, Zodiac, Corsair, Falcon and Galaxy sound exotic, but who would not remember the Escort, the Cortina and the Capri.


The new Chapel Street premises in BridgetownThe first location of the partnership was on Chapel Street in the island's capital, Bridgetown. The company remained there until 1968, when it sold part of its Chapel Street location and purchased an acre and a half in the then out of town, central location Wildey, St. Michael. Over the next 3 year period, the company gradually developed the Wildey site and eventually sold the remaining part of the Chapel Street location and added another one and a half acres to the Wildey site. "We were alone when we first moved to Wildey", remembers David MacKenzie, the Managing Director's son who had joined the company as a teenager. Quite soon after, however, many other businesses followed and today the Wildey area is a very thriving and busy one.

David MacKenzie was appointed as a director in 1957 to replace Charles McEnearney who had sold his interest in McEnearney & Co. in Trinidad to Mr. deNobriga, and he and his wife went to live in The Catskills outside of New York. After a while had elapsed, he missed Trinidad and eventually returned to purchase some of the shares in the company back from Mr. deNorbriga.

David worked with his father, Charles MacKenzie, who was Managing Director of McEnearney Barbados and enjoyed working with him and learned much from him. David says that he was an astute businessman and understood people very well and that he had a keen sense of humour. He remembers some of his witty quips, like at Board meetings when he would say in jest, "All those in favour say aye, all those against say I resign". Or if you were late for an appointment, he would say, "If you were in a hurry, leave early".

Charles McEnearney was also a very kind man with a keen sense of humour, and enjoyed life fully. He and his wife Ester lived in a water-front property next to the Yacht Club in West Port of Spain.

Alan Trotter, another director of the company in the early years, is fondly remembered by David MacKenzie as a very hard working, kind, thoughtful and meticulous man. Alan Trotter played a leading role in the company and it is alledged that he did most of the administrative work particularly when Charles MacKenzie was in control. He was truly a self-made man, very sensible and with high morals. He did all of the costing of vehicles, parts, tires and batteries and established all the lines of credit with the suppliers in those early days.

The other person of particular importance in those early days was Miss Ena Perkins, who was the Company Secretary and who looked after the company's payroll and who administered the office in general.

In 1966, Douglas MacKenzie, David's brother, who obtained an MBA from Toronto University, also joined the company and he was particularly helpful in developing the lawn, garden and marine divisions, representing inboard and outboard marine motors, tractor mowers, push mowers and numerous other small equipment and accessories.


Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd. - the new premises, 1968By the mid-seventies, Ford Motor Company was no longer able to supply any right hand drive vehicles from any source at competitive prices. When requested of Ford Motor Company for pricing competitive with the Japanese models, the response from Ford was that Ford Motor Company could sell at full price all of the cars they could produce in most of their markets and saw no reason to offer any discounted prices in the Barbados market. The company was headed for disaster with this news, and as a result management of the company pursued other vehicle brands culminating in a trip to Japan by Douglas MacKenzie in 1978 to successfully secure representation of the Daihatsu brand out of Japan. The company began to sell Daihatsu vehicles in June of 1978 and sales continued to rise each year from 63 units in 1978 to 745 units in 1986. In the meantime, uncompetitively priced Ford products virtually ceased to sell and the company did not really recommence the marketing of Ford vehicles until March of 1995, many years later.

By the expansions of the operations in 1979, and the indicated desire of David and Douglas MacKenzie's brothers Ron and Neil, who had settled in Canada, to sell their shareholdings in McEnearney & Co. Ltd., David and Douglas decided to open discussions with the McEnearney Alstons management in Trinidad, led at the time by Mr. Ralph Gibson followed by Mr. Conrad O'Brien, and with whom there was always a close and cordial relationship, to join with them and expand their operations in Barbados. This suggestion fell on fertile ground and in early 1980 McEnearney Alstons Barbados Ltd. was incorporated with Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd., becoming the first wholly owned subsidiary.

In 1981, Stokes & Bynoe Ltd. in which Alstons Ltd. of Trinidad held a 60% interest, was taken over by way of an exchange of shares and cash and became the second wholly owned subsidiary of the group. This takeover soon permitted Stokes & Bynoe to rapidly expand and move from its cramped facility in Bridgetown to a much larger and purpose-designed building at Meadow Road, Wildey in St. Michael. Stokes & Bynoe compromised of four divisions: one for pharmaceuticals which was and still is one of their largest divisions, one for selling food items, a third for selling over the counter items such as Jergens cosmetics etc., and one for selling wines and various other spirits - Hennessey being the largest of the spirits.

In 1982, it was decided to have as another wholly owned subsuduary, a finance company, and in very early 1983, Consolidated Finance Company Ltd. was incorporated. This company focused primarily on the financing of vehicles and was managed by Mr. John MacKenzie and Ms. Frances Parravacino has shown tremendous growth over the years and is presently a major contributor to the group.

In 1985, McEnearney Alstons Barbados Ltd. purchased the Advocate newspaper from the Thompson newspaper group and in 1986, on the aquisition of the few remaining shares from the Chenery family, the Advocate became the fourth wholly owned subsidiary of the group. The operation of a newspaper did not fit in with the core business of the group and in the first quarter of 2000, the group sold the Advocate and got out of the newpaper business.

In 1992, the group took over by way of amalgamation and an exchange of shares Quality Motors Ltd., the local agents for Mazda and Peugeot, as the fifth wholly owned subsidiary. Subsequent to the take over, in 1994 - 1995 the Kia agency out of Korea was secured and a year or so after this the two automotive companies were merged into Charles McEnearney & Co. Ltd. At this time the names of both of the merged companies were discontinued and the current name, McEnearney Quality Inc. (MQI) was formed. McEnearney Quality Inc. over the years has accumulated many brands other than the ones mentioned in the above extract and the company currently represents Ford, Daihatsu, Mazda, Kia, Peugeot, Audi, Mack Trucks, Kubota and New Holland tractors, Thomas skidloader, and many other construction equipment, agricultural, marine and lawn and garden orientated brands here in Barbados, all with full aftersales service and support

In 2004, McEnearney Alstons Barbados Ltd. purchased for cash all the shares in A.S. Brydens & Sons Ltd. and this company, with all of its subsidiaries and diverse interests became the sixth wholly owned subsidiary of the group.

As you can see McEnearney Quality Inc. was the start of what is now a large group of companies and is today known as a vibrant and competitive player in the automotive industry here in Barbados.

FOOTNOTES

1 Pricing, specifications, availability and terms of offers may change without notice. Prices on this page are listed in Barbados Dollars (BBD) and exclude taxes, duties and preparation expenses. Prices are valid for the period ending September 2017.

2 On the Road charges comprise of: Road Tax, Number Plates, Tint, Rust Proofing and Mats

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