Bonds and Business
Koomnauth Ragnauth known as Par in the community of La Grange (Samuel Maughn photos)
Koomnauth Ragnauth known as Par in the community of La Grange (Samuel Maughn photos)

A La Grange father tells of the wins and losses of a family business.

FAMILY bonds are common. Every day, families support each other in many ways. From caring moms to ever-supportive siblings, families are meant to be there for each other. And at the end of the day, one family’s success is a win for everyone. Koomnauth Ragnauth holds his family close to his heart. A father of three has been a woodworker and craftsman for more than four decades. His business has grown from a little one-man operation, which began when his father died, to a family-owned enterprise that works with countless stores around Guyana. However, he says his biggest accomplishment throughout this journey has been his family.

Koomnauth, also known as Par, has lived on Independence Street La Grange for several decades and considers it his home. Par has become a well-known figure in the little village of Independence Street. He gained notoriety for his excellent craftsmanship. Par, his wife and sons are known for their wide array of high-quality furniture. With intricately fitted pieces and beautifully polished wood, people come from far and wide to Par’s furniture store seeking handmade pieces for their homes and businesses. His career has come a long way; however, as a young man, Par could not imagine becoming as successful as he is today. He grew up seeing his father working long hours with wood and saw.

With the death of his father when he was still a teenager, Par was thrown into a world of work he knew very little about. But as a young man from a modest family, he knew he had to take up the mantle. As he shared, “I started learning this woodwork in 1977. My father died on February 27 1977. And when he died, we did not have anybody in hand to help to work for my family. So, I spent some time in a workshop. By the end of 1978, I had already known how to do the work.”

Equipped with what could still be considered basic knowledge, Par set out to begin his own career. He described his early years as turbulent. Par has worked with numerous companies and people for many years, but he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and longed to do something on his own. His business originated in his small home in Georgetown. Par started his then-blossoming business with the support of his wife, his modest skills and a few pieces of wood. As he shared, “At that time, I used to live in Georgetown. Me and my wife were renting a house, and the people told me I could run a little business in the yard. I began doing that in 1987, and right away, we got work from Guyana Stores.”

Par handling several pieces of wood for his next project.

Par’s little workshop quickly took off. The more he worked, the bigger the business grew. Within the next few years, he had developed a successful venture with his wife’s support. But there were still much more for the family to undertake, and a home of their own was next on the list. The father of three young children moved to Independence Street some 33 years ago. The community was still called Middle Dam, a name given to the community because it was a small farming dam between two major roads. But in those days, Par said Middle Dam was indeed just a mud dam. As he shared, “Me and my family moved here in 1990. The place had mud roads. And plenty people asked me why I came here to live. But I did not move. I said we were going to stay and open the workshop right here.”

This optimism is perhaps one of the reasons for the family’s success. The hardest time for Par was the schooling of his children. Having three children to send to school, some two miles away, was a trial itself, but tough financial times meant the family had to band together. “It was hard for a piece of time. I had all three children going to school, and we did not have roads or transportation, so I used to ride out and ride back in.” He further added that his biggest accomplishment to date was educating his children despite the challenges, “The thing I am most thankful for is being able to give my children a good education. I sent all of them to school, and they came out with good grades and got good jobs.”

Today, Par’s business is truly a family affair. His children often play major roles in Par’s business operations. He greatly credits his wife for the business’s rise as well. As he shared, “My wife was very important. She worked with me wholeheartedly. She was with me foot to foot. She would help me hold wood. Me, her, a contractor and a porter built this house.” Par and the Ragnauth family showcases what it means to be family, supporting each other throughout life’s challenging moments and trying times.

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