After the recent death of local Bahamian businessman Donald Roberts Sr. he is being herald a “Philanthropist”. Roberts is being remembered by friends and associates for his charismatic personality and generous heart. In an interview with James Rolle, General Manager of Dolly Madison Home Center he described Roberts as a man who cared deeply for his staff and their well being. As a result, he helped to meet needs and more importantly ensured them of and maintained their job security during the most recent economic hardships of the Grand Bahama economy. Roberts was also know for his generous donations to local civic and sporting organizations. Rolle recounted how after the devastation of hurricane Mathew in 2016 that Roberts made huge donations to organizations in the community that were seeking to assist people that were in need. During this time Roberts also donated some 200 mattresses to an organization out of Nassau that were sending supplies to the family islands that were devastated. Locally, Roberts would supply furniture including beds, hard wares, appliances and more to people in need. In addition, he made numerous financial contributions to local sporting organizations and events.
Roberts was born on May 16th,1934 and was considered to be born into wealth. His father John Wilson Roberts had made a successful career originally in the liquor business in the 1920s and 1930s. Roberts father also established The Abaco Lumber Company which he later sold to Wallace Groves. In his earlier days Roberts was in the Night Club business and a Calypso Promoter. Roberts also became involved in the slot machine, juke box, pool table, laundromat businesses all before he was introduced to the furniture business.
Dolly Madison Home Center which has now become a household name has been built into a local empire as a result of Robert’s hard work and dedication to his business and the Grand Bahama community. Dolly Madison has evolved from a furniture store to one that offers appliances, electronics, paint, hardware, lawn and gardening supplies. Over the years Roberts have been known to give back to the community through his yearly store wide sales and discounts. Furthermore, Roberts was known to have been a great contributor to people in need and to things that he was passionate about. For instance, Roberts was a sponsor to The Grand Bahama Children’s Home, Fishing Tournaments, Little League Baseball, The Humane Society and others. He also gave donations to churches and other community organizations. Roberts was described as a man who could discern the needs of people. It was a normal practice of Roberts as customers came into the store and he learned of their financial dilemmas through converting with them that he would allow them to walk away with tremendous discounts, and furniture as well as, appliances free of charge. This was just the type of man he was and the heart he had.