Saturday, December 16, 2017

Willie’s ice-cream founder buried


Dead at 58: Wilbur ‘Willie’ Balgobin

Mark Fraser

ENTREPRENEUR Wilbur “Willie” Balgobin, who turned a home-made ice cream cart business started in 1986 into a multi-million-dollar chain of shops extending up the Caribbean and into North America, died last Thursday at the age of 58.

Balgobin, whose business had financial problems for the past several years, was remembered at his funeral yesterday as a pioneer in the domestic ice cream industry, who won the first Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1997, and was the first to export local ice cream to the United States.

United Kingdom-educated Balgobin, of Lange Park, Chaguanas, operated his business under the name Willie’s Home-Made Ice Cream with a range of Caribbean fruit flavours.

Mourners were told that Balgobin was especially proud of creating employment for farmers and their families and single mothers in Arena Road, Freeport, where he opened a factory.

The funeral was held at the St Joseph Roman Catholic Church and Balgobin was interred at the St Joseph Public Cemetery.