ST. THOMAS – Jabari Blash hangs his baseball cap on his hard hat, has left the world of pro baseball and is venturing into local business with Kobaz Enterprises.
The Company offers cargo haulage, trailer haulage, excavation and dump truck services, among others. .
Born and raised in the Virgin Islands and a graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School, Blash has spent most of his time touring the continental United States and parts of the world as a professional baseball player since 2010. In the big leagues, Blash has played for the San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, and Anaheim Angels. Blash then spent two years with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
In 2019, Blash was in Japan for two years with a brand new family, but with COVID-19 he couldn’t have taken them with him. He decided it was a good time to return home to invest in something he knew well.
“I’ve always prepared for life after baseball,” Blash said. “I knew there is the age factor and you can get injured at any time, so the opportunity came and I knew it was the right time and I felt comfortable and confident to stop what I was doing and opportunities are here to pursue.”
Blash said he “had the capital to invest and I started Kobaz Enterprises because I have close proximity to heavy equipment and the ability to take care of my family and do this together.”
The Blash family has a long history of heavy equipment on the island. Blash’s father, Jay Blash, is a well-known digger on St. Thomas and his late older brother was a truck driver. His younger brother, Jamari Blash, who also played baseball professionally, decided to return to St. Thomas to join the company.
Kobaz Enterprises opened with one asset last March and has continued to add more over time. The company now has a mini excavator for smaller landscaping jobs and a mid-size excavator that can handle a lot of heavy lifting. It will soon add a big excavator and be able to do any job, big or small. The company also has two tractor-trailers for containers and fuel, and a dump truck that can accompany the excavators when debris needs to be removed. Kobaz can provide services for any sand, dirt, stone, debris, trash or material removal work, large or small, and load or unload containers from Tropical Shipping. The company also has four concrete trucks that will haul concrete for Universal Concrete, which is scheduled to open next month.
“If you’re aware of what’s going on in the community, there’s all this construction that’s been going on for a couple of years, so I felt like this is an industry where we’re not just making our money back , but also be successful for years to come, so we’ve invested quite heavily in equipment,” said Blash.
So far, the business has grown and will continue to grow as more delayed hurricane-related projects finally get underway.
“My dad is a really good digger who is well known across the island and so far we have been blessed. He’s got a pretty good client base since he’s been doing this for years,” Blash said. “So far we’ve worked with a lot of private clients and we’re in the process of getting all our information online so we can start bidding for contracts because we know there’s a lot of construction coming projects and a lot of demolition.”
Right now, Kobaz has four employees, but once Universal Cement opens, that number will increase. Blash is also in the midst of a deal that would significantly expand the company with a wider range of equipment and additional jobs.
Kobaz currently parks the equipment in a spot at the Sub Base but recently secured a lease with the VI Government to move to a new location just above the Water and Power Agency this week.
It’s far from a baseball diamond, but Blash said he’s making it successful.
“It’s really something I enjoy — every difficulty and every new thing,” he said.
For more information, call 340-775-6222 or visit Kobaz Enterprises Facebook and Instagram pages.