Albert Kusi, is a serial entrepreneur and hospitality professional. He is the CEO of White House Events Ltd, owners of Calabar popular, urban trendy night club, White House Lounge.
Kusi, is a name that has been around for a long in the Calabar social circuit. To celebrate his birthday today, he took out time to speak with us about the present night life in Calabar, the challenges and why people like him will not let the beauty of the city fade away.
Enjoy the interview below;
- Can we meet you?
My name is Albert Kusi, from Calabar, Cross River state. A hospitality consultant, owner of White House Lounge and Fiesta Fries Fast food, Calabar. I am a husband and father.
- Enlighten us on your educational background and experience
I attended Hope Waddel Training Institution from ’91-96. Gained admission to study Diploma in Business Admin ’96-98, graduated with distinction. Had admission to study Political Science with Major in Public Administration from 2001-2005 in University of Calabar.
Have a professional certification in Purchase and Supply Management from Institute of Purchase and Supply Management of Nigeria.
I also have a certification from American Hospitality Academy on Human Development.
- What was your first paid job and how many phases would you say you have passed between that time and now
First paid job was with Metropolitan Hotel Calabar as a cashier in 2000 under the management of Ikeja Hotel Plc, owners of Sheraton Hotels and Federal Palace Hotel Lagos.
3 months after resumption of work I was moved to the Billing office as a Billing Cashier/Night Auditor (this was a rare promotion), 2 years after, I was moved to finance office where I was seconded to act as head of purchasing unit. 2 months after, I was confirmed purchasing manager due to my ability to reduce operational cost of the hotel within 6 weeks acting (2003-2005).
In 2005 the hotel was privatized so I moved into personal business working as Logistics contractor for Omak Maritime Port-Harcourt. In 2016, I took up a job as purchasing manger with Mirage Hotel Calabar.
In 2017, I was recalled alongside a few other persons to restart the new Metropolitan Hotel & Conference under the management of Kingsville Hotels (Managers of Eko Hotel & Suites Lagos).
Between 2007-2010 I worked as purchasing manager, in 2010 I was drafted as pioneer staff to run the Marketing unit of the hotel. Between 2010-2015 I worked as Marketing Executive, towards last quarter of 2015 placed in probation as acting Head of Sales with a mandate to turn the loss position of the hotel since 2010 to a profitable position within months. This I achieved 3 months after being given this mandate, hence i was confirmed Head of Sales successfully in 2016. In May 2017, I left Transcorp Hotels to fully pursue my personal interests.
- What other businesses are you involved with now?
I am the CEO of White House Events Ltd . Brand owners of White House Lounge and managers of Fiesta Fries Fastfood.
I also run a restaurant & catering outfit known as “Amanso ” which presently manages about 3 staff canteens of some Banks in Calabar.
I also consult for Hospitality outfits in sales promotions, customer relationship and business strategy.
- What’s your opinion of doing business in Calabar?
Doing business in Calabar is a blessing, because Calabar exposes you to realities. Surviving here requires extra efforts and ingenuity. It has a way of bringing out the very best in you because for one to be successful in Calabar you must be on your toes and extra hard working. The environment is unique and non like any other city in Nigeria. In fact, it is the only city in Nigeria where economic formulas don’t work. Businesses in Calabar thrive based on a very different dynamics which to a large extent is dependent on the perception of the locals about the owner or managers of the business. You have to tweak your business in line with the realities of the people. In essence it is really tough sustaining a business in Calabar.
- What advice do you have for up upcoming entrepreneurs in Calabar
For upcoming entrepreneurs, pursue your passion and be ready to work for free over a period of time. But if you are lucky to land some good inheritance, then seek an investment banker advice, talk to some well groomed and experienced entrepreneurs, study their lifestyles very well before chasing your own dreams.
- What can you tell us about alcohol and pursuit for pleasure, given that you run a night club.
Drink responsibly, unwind only at descent places where you have responsible individuals.
- How will you rate the present Calabar night life? Is it better or worse? What can be done?
The present night life in Calabar is an apology. I grew up in a Calabar where you could wake up by 2am and still go out to Luna for a beer n life band, or Museum for some cool breeze and beautiful soul music from the Memories Band, or you move to Ibb way for Makossa music at Continental nite club, or further up to Pinnacle nite club at Mirage hotel for hip hop music where you feel young at heart……wow! it was beautiful.
One had too many options but unfortunately today the insecurity caused by incessant cult wars, kidnaps & robbery makes the night life in Calabar near extinction. But people like us will not let the beauty of Calabar fade away. We will keep trying to revive it.
To help reactivate the night life in Calabar, We must tackle insecurity.
- How have you been able to tackle competition to remain at the top?
There is no competition in Calabar because we are yet to even tap into the potentials, for us our focus is creating activities that will make people restless in their beds cum houses. If we can bring everyone out of their homes every evening then they would be too many patronage to overwhelm the few hands we have presently.
- You run the club business with your partner it must be tough?
Generally, partnership is a complex arrangement but when you work with the right person your output automatically portrays growth and success. Once that is achieved then every other aspect can be managed. Fortunately, I have a very passionate partner who I am very pleased with. He’s more like a brother and we think alike. It’s a blissful partnership.
- What new offerings are you bringing into the market?
We are about to launch a package that will be of immense help to businesses and corporates as well. Our vision is to create a Hub where the Calabar community can synergies. This way we don’t have to necessarily work in isolation. That’s our next phase and it will be quite interesting and engaging.
- How do you relax
I make out time to watch movies and read books. This us how i unwind
- Today, is your birthday, how do you feel -and what are the plans?
I’m marking my birthday a little bit different this year. I will be in church all through the day for thanksgiving for the successes over the hurdles of the past year then in the evening i will be having a BBQ get together with my friends at the lounge – White House Lounge. The Calabar Blog crew is invited.
- Thank you for your time, any last word?
Lastly, i do hope we all can rally round and support Donald Duke in his bid for Presidency. I have no doubts that he is the answer Nigeria needs today…..#EveryoneMatters