Our Family History
Six generations of Ramson’s have served Jamaica in the public service, the church, and as pillars of the business community. Christopher Luce Ramson came to the island from England in 1828, to become the Coroner and Clerk of the Peace for the parish of St. Elizabeth. He was the father of John Luce Ramson, who was the rector of the parish of St. Elizabeth and was later Archdeacon of the County of Cornwall.
Archdeacon John Luce Ramson was the father of two sons. Herbert Ernest Ramson became the Collector of Taxes in Manchester, and John Luce Ramson, who in turn was Archdeacon of Surrey. Ramson Hall in Kingston was named after this prominent churchman. Charles E. Ramson, the eldest son of Herbert Ernest Ramson was founder of the company which bears his name to this day, and father of Laurie Ramson, who built the company after his father passed at a young age. His son, in turn, John Charles Ramson who succeeded him as Managing Director of the company is the third generation to serve the company, and the fifth generation to play a role in the life of Jamaica. John Ramson has now relinquished the role of Managing Director to his son – Phillip Ramson, John remains as Chairman. Phillip Ramson is now the fourth generation to lead the company as we approach 100 years in operation.
A Business Built on Service
The armistice that marked the end of World War 1 had been signed less than four years and the world had returned to rebuilding the peace, when Charles E. Ramson returned to Jamaica from the United States of America to establish a new company at 311/2 Oliver Place in what was then the business area of Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston. He was returning to the island where his Great Grandfather, Christopher Luce Ramson had left England to settle in, and arrived in 1828 to serve as Coroner and Clerk of the Peace in St. Elizabeth.
Charles Ramson set up business as a Commission Agent and Manufacturer’s Representative, selling “Kelloggs Corn Flakes” and “Sunshine Biscuits” and Salted Cod Fish imported from Newfoundland. “Charlie” Ramson as he was familiarly known, canvassed orders for direct shipment from principals to local wholesalers and he imported stocks to smaller shops, the goods being transported through the streets of Kingston in mule drawn drays.
Tragedy dogged the family and in 1928, one hundred years after his Grandfather had landed in Jamaica, Charles Ramson died at the relatively young age of 42 years. His widow, Rose, was left to carry on the business with the encouragement of his overseas principals. His son, Laurie, then only 15, finished school but gave up his intended study of dentistry and began his working career, first with Carmen and Bruce, and Victoria Mutual Building Society, and then with his mother in the family company. The year was 1932, and within a year the firm become a limited liability company and Mrs. Ramson and her eldest son set about building the reputation of reliability and service that the company enjoys today.
It was by no means an easy task, with only a small staff, Laurie himself undertook the clearance of goods through customs, acted as salesman and collector, travelling the island and learnt the business the best way, by having to take on every job that needed to be done himself. It was experience that was to prove invaluable and provided a fundamental training in business that was to serve the company in good stead for the next half century.
As the firm grew, new, larger and more convenient premises were taken, first at 1041/4 Harbour Street in June 1945, and again, as the now- well-established firm required even more suitable premises at 551/2 West Street, in 1953.
The difficult years of World War 11 had created changes in business practice in Jamaica and following the changing trend, Chas. E. Ramson Limited became Distributors and Stockists. As the staff expanded, Danny DaCosta joined the firm in 1947 in charge of sales and Gloria deMercado joined the company in 1951 and the two were soon Directors of the company and Mrs. deMarcado became the company’s accountant.
In the Industrial surge which took place in Jamaica following Independence in 1962, Laurie Ramson took the decision to go into manufacturing and factories were established to produce “Foska” Oats in a joint venture with the giant “Kelloggs” cereal company in the United States of America and “Acco” stationery products with the overseas company of the same name.
From the early 1960’s Chas. E. Ramson Limited had been distributing the imported “Foska” Oats and “Acco” line of products, so therefore it was natural for the company to go one step further and establish manufacturing operations in Jamaica. Distribution of the locally manufactured “Foska” Oats was started by Chas. E. Ramson Limited in 1967 and the “Acco “line of Jamaican made products appeared in stationery stores in 1970. The company continued to grow in the new decade of the 70”s and in 1974 the company built new offices and warehouse facilities on spacious grounds at 449 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11, where the company and its operations are located today.
In 1971, Laurie’s son, John Charles, became the third generation of the family to assume executive responsibility with the company and was first appointed Financial Controller and in 1984 he became the company’s Managing Director, with his father retaining responsibility of Company Chairman.
The firm Chas. E. Ramson Limited has grown with Jamaica and today is an important supplier of quality products both locally manufactured and imported, meeting the demands of Jamaica’s domestic, tourist and export trade. With a substantially increased staff, modern computerized systems, modern equipment and over ninety five years of solid service behind it, the company Chas. E. Ramson Limited is a national business institution that will continue to build on its record of service and reliability to Jamaica.Show Less
Our Vision Statement
To be a great Jamaican company recognized for excellence across the region and a benchmark for service and quality.
Our Management Team
The company has grown from its humble beginnings of two employees to over one hundred and sixty, inclusive of over 60 Merchandisers island wide, by maintaining a strong complement of highly reputable brands and an excellent management team.
John C. Ramson
Managing DirectorView Bio
Consultant, Sales & MarketingView Bio
Director of OperationsView Bio
Director of CreditView Bio
Advertising & Marketing ManagerView Bio
Merchandising & Promotions ManagerView Bio
Area ManagerView Bio
Financial ControllerView Bio
Chas. E. Ramson Limited specializes in serving the Jamaican market by operating and distributing out of two conveniently located warehouses in Kingston, the island’s capital and Montego-Bay, the island’s second city. With climate controlled sections for wines, meats and other perishables, the company’s facilities are able to ensure that goods are properly stored and their quality maintained to service the retail, wholesale, hotel and restaurant sectors.Contact us to find out more