JR’s Bar shuts down after a 16-year run due to financial constraints

JR’s Bar, located on King George v Street in Roseau

After a successful 16-year run, JR’s Bar, situated on King George V Street, has sadly closed its doors, the owner citing severe financial constraints as the primary reason for the closure.

In an exclusive interview with Dominica News Online (DNO), Joseph Raffoul, the proprietor of JR’s Bar, shared the heart-wrenching decision to shut down, stating, “It’s been a long journey; we have been here since 2008 up until today. But with no financial help or assistance, I just couldn’t continue anymore.”

Mr. Raffoul also pointed to health difficulties as another factor contributing to the closure, expressing his regret that things had to come to this point. JR’s Bar, a collaborative venture between Raffoul and his late brother, faced dire circumstances in recent times, with the business reaching a point where it was only operated by Raffoul.

Revealing the extent of the business’s struggles, Raffoul disclosed, “Things got so bad for the business that I didn’t have any employees. I only had one girl helping me in the morning, and that was it. Things were so bad.”

Reflecting on the toll of the past five years, Raffoul remarked, “The last five years have been the worst of my life. Anyone walking the streets of Roseau after 7 pm knows that you can literally run a horse race or donkey derby in Roseau at that time given how empty it is. Keeping the business open meant bills kept accumulating, and my health kept deteriorating, and I had no choice but to shut down, although it was a very difficult decision.”

He notes that over the years, he has encountered numerous challenges including an incident in 2018 when he was almost killed by a vagrant within the establishment, leading to his five-day stay in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. Nevertheless, he also emphasizes the creation of numerous cherished memories which he says will remain with him for the rest of his life.

Expressing his appreciation to the steadfast local patrons who have been integral to his journey, he conveyed his gratitude, stating, “We have customers worldwide. People have traveled on boats, come back to Dominica, come back to the bar and I get lots of messages from people I don’t remember and they send pictures for me of the bar and I have  a lot of fond memories. I have had a lot of local loyal customers, those who’ve stuck with me through thick and thin.”

Through tears he added, “It really breaks my heart to have to do this. I really wish I didn’t have to, but I just want to thank everybody for being there with me.”

The location is set to undergo a transition under the management of a new proprietor.

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28 Comments

  1. Peeping Tom
    February 5, 2024

    This is not a zero-sum situation: “The location is set to undergo a transition under the management of a new proprietor.”

  2. Kawant wozo
    February 4, 2024

    So why you not going down and open a industry so at least some people can have a paycheck, you talking like the government have to do everything, you might as well tell them to finance a business for everyone on the island, the business of business is hit or miss,it happens everywhere,even the little crazy state you live in America,find a life outside the political one that’s been destroying you for ages

  3. Close-out Sale
    February 3, 2024

    The Ross University students would’ve been of some assistance in spending their money there. Dominica has been on the decline for the past couple of decades. Honestly, I’m surprised that JR lasted that long. Many local business in this country and barely making it. You see the owners standing at the store entrance “watch the ship go by.” Government only has money to away to their voters, and not to bail or help small businesses. I guess this works well with China. The poorer we remain is a huge advantage for China and the labor party. But Dominicans love it so.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 7
  4. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    February 3, 2024

    People nor things last forever, nothing remains the same!
    Business remains operating depending on patronage. I don’t understand his complaint about unable to get financial help or assistance. A bar, is supposed to be a place of entertainment, and its success depends on how many people patronize the Bar or “club.”
    Your business did not fail due to a lack of getting financial assistance from an institution or individual, it failed due to the fact that the majority of our people are jobless!
    How can one go to a Bar, or Restaurant to entertain themselves when they do not have a paycheck, all due to existing in a country where the economy is based on the sale of passports?
    Where are the industries to provide employment?
    The worst is yet to come under Roosevelt Skerrit, the day when Dominicans realize Roosevelt has killed the nation will be the day when the economy collapse under his feet.
    If alcohol sales has declined in Dominica, we know things are bad!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 10
    • Mark
      February 5, 2024

      Francisco, maybe JR did not keep up with the times. You see, what was good enough for customers yesterday is not good enough today and will definitely not be good enough tomorrow. You have to constantly invest in your business if you hope to survive. Remember, there are similar businesses in your “space” hoping to take away your customers so you have to continually do things to keep and draw in new customers.

      Contrary to what you believe, there is lots of money on island. Proof, come down to the deep water harbor on Tuesdays and witness the amount of vehicles being off loaded. Dominica with a population of about 70,000 people currently has roughly 40,000 vehicles on island, you tell me this country has no money and I’ll tell you, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        February 7, 2024

        Well then my friend, can you tell me all of those people buying trucks, and cars, where are they employed, in what industry are they employed?
        Mark do not deceive yourself, if life was a bed of Roses as you want me to believe, I must let you know I am not easily fooled.
        If there was so much money, milk combined with honey flowing in the streets of Dominica, tell me why there are more than twenty thousand Dominicans living in Antigua?
        I don’t quite remember if it was in sociology, or anthropology I was taught about the “push and the pull.” But,
        count also the thousands of Dominica residents on other island of the Caribbean, you will find out that something is pushing our people out of the island.
        That push Mark is economic slavery, and poverty!
        Is it not strange that two similar businesses went out of business due to lack of patriotism?
        How can people entertain themselves without money?
        And this lie that there are seventy thousand people in DA, a lie I heard when I was a…

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        February 7, 2024

        So, I must conclude this: there is a long promoted lie, that there are seventy (70,000.00) thousand people in Dominica: assuming I am wrong to contradict that I would also have to inform you Mark, the population have not grown in almost a hundred years or so!
        I remembered when I was a young lad in 1963 out of curiosity I asked someone in Dominica what was the population, they quoted 70 thousand.
        The easiest to know the truth about that is to count how many people voted in the last three general elections.
        Mind you it you check the voter’s registration list you will find my grandmother name on it: though she was born January 1st 1890 and departed in this world in 1993 at 103 years old!
        Mind the death ratio in Dominica far exceeds the birth ratio.
        Mark there might be closer to fifty thousand people or in county right now.
        And if you go to Airport right this minute you will find some of our people heading to both north and south of the region to greener pastures.

    • February 5, 2024

      You have nothing good to say when new doors are open far less for when old doors are closed. You are a proponent of evil and wickedness. Your creep out of Wesley. Neither Fontaine nor Ugly Lennox will ever be the Prime Minister of Dominica. Not on this earth not on the next one. Like a good neighbor, Skerrit is there, as always. Make sure u watch some super bowl next Sunday since Las Vegas is not far from Los Angeles, the crime city. Your washed-out creep from Wesley.

  5. National
    February 3, 2024

    So, if I open up a business and I run it into the ground, will you blame the PM?

    You should encourage the private sector to take formal training in business operations to enhance their daily business practices. Send staff members to take a few classes from the UWI open campus.

    I know that the AID Bank is begging people to come in for business loans. You might want to spread the word. Take advantage of this massive opportunity. Please stop looking for someone to blame for all your failures.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 22
    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      February 4, 2024

      Scum of the the earth people like you are so shallow, it will take a complete collapse of the nations economy before idiots like you understand what people are talking about!
      So, FYI only; I iterate; it is Roosevelt Skerrit, that damn incompetent corrupted crook fault that caused the closure of this Bar, and the Restaurant which collapse causing the owner to commit suicide less than two months ago!
      If you were not dumb, you would have recognized that it is because of Roosevelt Skerrit incompetence and stupidity which caused Ross University School of medicine to flee Dominica after successfully operating in Dominica for more than forty years; it is Roosevelt Skerrit that damn kleptomaniac who cause foreign companies such as Colgate Palmolive to flee the country rendering thousands of Dominicans jobless.
      Shut up, you idiot!
      He and his American citizen wife and born children, live off the sale of passports money, while more than 90% of Dominicans are unemployed!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      February 4, 2024

      Let me show you just how uneducated and stupid you are!
      “So, if I open up a business and I run it into the ground, will you blame the PM?”
      Its almost impossible to make sense of that bit of garbage: Now assuming one has a successful business and they allow someone to manage it, they could:
      Ruin or willfully destroy it then we could term it ruin it during that persons brief time as chief executive, James, or John, perhaps Mary; just about ran the company into the ground!
      Nevertheless, the crap you talking is simply in defense of Roosevelt Skerrit, the closing of any business in Dominica; just as god as building a house, and when it is completed, he takes a hammer, ans break the house down!
      Whoever you are since Roosevelt became prime minister of Dominica, he has not to this day brought a single job, or one industry into the country!
      I invite you to check back to when the Shine Company fled the country, since then how man foreign business left and local owned closed!

    • Ibo France
      February 5, 2024

      The economy is suffering from asphyxia. It is being choked to near death by corruption, greed and gross mismanagement. Consequently, businesses no longer receive the patronage to be profitable or to survive.

      Who is responsible for this disastrous downturn in the economy? No other than the corrupt, unfeeling, carnivorous members of the Roosevelt-led, mongoose regime.

      A leader’s attitude is like a thermostat for the economy and the country as a whole. Right now, the temperature of the economy is one hundred degrees below zero (-100°). Businesses are suffering from frost bites and hyper HYPOTHERMIA.

      • February 7, 2024

        You are part of the economy and since you have not passed away due to Asphyxia well, we are good to go. Still breathing makes life and the economy ever so important. Too bad we don’t have winter in Dominica so, no frost bites and no hypothermia. Wherever you are hiding makes me think that you are a mongoose. Now, you are a meteorologist knowing that the business temperature in Dominica is 100 below zero. Must be cold in DA. U need to be locked up at Stockfarm. Your damn thermostat is getting erratic and out of control.

    • Zandoli
      February 6, 2024

      If there is no demand or cash flowing in the economy, it does not matter how much training you have, it will make no difference. The issue is not training.
      EVERYBODY BROKES……

      • Mark
        February 7, 2024

        Everybody Brokes but everybody riding up and down in their nice Japanese vehicles. I guess those transports must be running on air.

        FELLA, you need to visit the “Hoods” of America, maybe you already live there to see what “Brokes” is all about. And not just Brokes but downright poverty. You guys keep preaching this nonsense to people who don’t know any better but one day they will find out for themselves and then they will see you’all for what you’all really are. A bunch of “FAKES”.

        Maybe you don’t really know what being Brokes really means.

  6. Ibo France
    February 3, 2024

    About five (5) businesses have closed their doors for this year. What citizens and residents are presently experiencing in Dominica is hyper-inflation and ultra-poverty.

    The chaffeur at the wheel cannot driver. He is taking the country’s bus and all its passengers over a dangerous precipice where there is a 0% chance of survival.

    Things only will exacerbate if this unworthy, undeserving, uncaring, unethical, uniquely unqualified vandal remains as head of government. The evidence is quite compelling. The wood-louse has vandalised the Office of Prime Minister and devastated the economy and civil service of the country.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9
    • Peeping Tom
      February 5, 2024

      You always have some ridiculously outlandish statements (much like Thomson Fontaine). List these 5 businesses AND show how their shutting down is due to “hyperinflation and poverty.”

  7. dissident
    February 2, 2024

    Dat was de spot to unwind after work on a weekends.
    late night was melvina’s
    Dat place was real hot
    The Bar owner is spot on
    Roseau is such a bore at night especially
    when JR’s was at its peak Roseau was on fire
    JR’s was de hottest place in de city
    even vendors used to sell their stuff on de road outside
    Roseau really dead now
    serious lack of investment
    There is this monstrosity of a building next to NCCU sitting dere watching people empty like de Moroccan hotel……..maybe de investor change his mind but I myself not impressed…..this is a joke
    I don’t believe dat a serious investor worth his salt would build a huge structure like this in a dead city like Roseau with a wrecked economy.
    JR you have to do what you have to do boss
    Dominica brokes
    no hating……nice place to drink a beer while you watch cricket during the day

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4
  8. ccs
    February 2, 2024

    I thought the economy is doing well according to the PM?

    What happened to our billion dollar economy?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 7
    • Ibo France
      February 4, 2024

      Every budget by this notorious propagandist is nothing more than a vain and vulgar attempt to manipulate the news media and give his choir of sheep-like fanatics something to sing about. That’s all to it.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6
    • Peeping Tom
      February 5, 2024

      Even in a stable national economy businesses will fail, due to a myriad of factors. In this case, J.R has explained his ill health, but…he also could not compete. New establishments have popped up over the city, e.g. the Promenade, this rooftop spot, a few small bars/cafes here and there, and this new spot opposite Astaphans. J.R, maybe due to his dwindling health, seemed unable to compete.

  9. If we knew better
    February 2, 2024

    The financial constraints are due to a failing economy. When JR’s can close, you know things not good. But, as ive said before and will say again, things have to get worse before they can get better. Dominicans like to feel, we dont like to hear.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5
  10. February 2, 2024

    My brother it is best you close your restaurant that you allow Jumbie to force the jumble money to come in like most of the others. So much jumble in Roseau it’s uneasy to even take a good nite sleep at Simzy. Howling, tumbling, screaming and fighting yet no one is being seen. Jombie for so in Roseau they fighting as to what establishment to go.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6
  11. Ibo France
    February 1, 2024

    The Roosevelt led cabal is driving the country into an economic ditch. This is what happens when a country’s leader only has expertise in lies. He has ruined the economy and put square pegs in round holes to advise him.

    A country gets the leader it deserves. Time for all right-thinking citizens of Dominica to wake up and kick all members of this failed government to the curb. It’s all downhill for Dominicans once Roosevelt and his pathetic flock of docile sheep remain in power.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7
  12. Zandoli
    February 1, 2024

    You know how many times I have heard Dominicans who live overseas say Dominica does not have enough night life?
    I cannot comment on the reason why that bar had to close. Sometimes businesses close while their competitors thrive. Some businesses don’t adapt to changing market conditions.
    Be that as it may, if the main population centre is like a graveyard after 7 pm, why would any sane person invest money in a service industry to serve locals?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2
    • Peeping Tom
      February 5, 2024

      And those same DIASPORANS who visit each year and complain do nothing with their money to improve the entertainment scene in Dominica.

  13. Awa
    February 1, 2024

    Awa,say you going to New ownership and we will see the transformation. The place had been deteriorating with no renovation. You gotta move with the times Gove the place an attractive appearance it became a Cabaway to bo honest. Good luck to the new proprietor.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3
  14. Hello
    February 1, 2024

    To say that things are ROUGH in Dominica is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Things are terribly bad for about 90-95% of the citizens. The remaining 5% like the passport sellers and their close friends rule the roost, and have in abundance!
    The most vibrant industry on island is the BEGGING industry! Nothing else!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 14

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