SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. Ling & Sons IGA Supercenter, which started as a family business in 1949, changed hands just recently, having served six generations in the Savaneta, San Nicolas and Oranjestad outlets. It was a smart move, because a business with no internal succession, must sell while it’s hot! The super-educated kids moved on, and the business was looking to define its future. Over the past few months we’ve seen attractive changes being made, as far as merchandising and displays. For a while we heard a rumor that Romar Trading was involved, but Milton Harms told us we got our wires crossed, it was perhaps the other Milton! Then we heard Albert Heijn which operates full service markets with a focus on quality in the Netherlands, and enjoys a no-nonsense image, was the buyer. Whichever it is — the van den Tweel Group who owns Albert Heijn — the website doesn’t reflect any change of ownership or branding. The IGA branding is of course important to the American Market, which buys products they can trust. So it’s smart to maintain the IGA name, however would they manage to maintain the same attention to detail? In all the years as a client at Ling & Sons, I enjoyed my relationship with Ingrid Ling best, as she listened to every request and honored every comment. My warm friendship with Yolanda Ling, which consisted of five occasional minutes of conversation between the aisles, always enriched and entertained me. How do you duplicate that experience? I talked to both Milton Harms and Deb St Laurent at the opening of the General Store Café and both could not say enough good things about the Ling’s legacy of excellent service, and personal sacrifice. They lived and breathed the store. The new buyers stepped into big shoes, let’s see if they can fill them!
NEW BROOM. The news spread like wildfire, the new General Manager of the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino is Tom Calame, who is now the GM at the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel in the Netherlands, and previously the GM at the JW Marriott Lima Hotel. He will be coming to run the show here with his amazing partner Karin Swiers, yes, our Karin Swiers, who was the former Public Relations and Communications diva at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino here, for more than seven years. Karin met Tom within the Marriott network, they spent quite some time in a long-distance relationship, and finally moved to the Netherlands together two years ago, where Karin worked for a large TV production company. Following Tom’s recent career move, the couple will soon be coming back to their island-in-the-sun. I know for a fact that girlfriend Maike Van Paridon, and artists Eliza Lejuez and Belinda de Veer, are super happy about the new. Karin if you rush, you can make it to the opening of Belinda’s upcoming solo art exhibiton.
THE JOURNEY FROM TRINIDAD TO CANADA. RBC bank transitioned on the 17th of September from a system base in Trinidad to a system headquartered in Canada. The transition was a disaster. Over the past two weeks, standing orders were either executed twice, of not at all. All the confidence we ever had in RBC bank eroded over time because it totally failed to communicate the issues and what is being done to fix them. I saw no press releases, no adz in the newspapers, no acknowledgement at all. In the banking world, the only commodity you sell is trust and my trust was flushed down the toilet this month, since your system failed, and you did nothing to explain it to me. To complicate things further, it is difficult to get an appointment with any account-officer and impossible to reach anyone by phone. Banking is a sensitive business, because we give you our money, which is real, and you give us a receipt, which is virtual, just an image on a computer screen. Imagine, all we get in exchange for our many hours of work, is a computer image, and if the information on it is wrong, what good is the system?? You failed in the only mission you had, namely bookkeeping. And what about bank charges? Will you be reversing all bank charges generated in the past three weeks in the wake of incorrect transaction?
ARUBUS, SIN COMPROMISO PA ARUBA. Another company caught with its pants around its ankles was Arubus with the introduction of the smartcard. I went to Arubus last week to help a young friend ‘recarga’ her carchi. The lines wrapped around the building. Pueblo was standing in line: inside, in the tiny reception space, and outside in the sun. The place looked just like DOOV in San Nicholas in the old days. We made it to the window, we already had the carchi from standing in line the previous week; all we wanted was to activate it. No por here, said the nonchalant clerk. The list of locations will be published in the newspapers. So we waited. Finally last Wednesday we went to the Market at the Alhambra Casino & Shops to activate the card. The Market is an adorable store, so nicely laid out and designed by owner Mark Nooren, who really created a very friendly space to shop for liquor and roast chicken. Surprise. The cashier refused to let us pay with Maestro. The Arubus smartcard only takes cash! What kind of nonsense is that? Then the cashier had problems with the Arubus printer, and when I asked her for the telephone number of her contact person so I could complain to them about the rejection of my Maestro, she refused to give it to me. I know what the issue is. It’s commission. The Market doesn’t want to pay bank charges on recarga activities, however, while there, I bought Awg 48 of groceries, so the store made its money anyway. Pueblo must be able to pay with Maestro for the Arubus smartcard charging, we should be able to use Maestro, if you are phase out cash, phase it out all the way.
PEGGGY CORRECTS. Peggy Navaretta Harms writes: How Are You? I saw your comment in Bati Blaki, thanks for your support of my new job, however a correction is due, Irma Bijen who is working for ECO Destination Management is multi-tasking as the Sales & Marketing Manager at Amazonia Churrascaria. I got the position of Sales & Marketing Manager at Aqua Grill and Tony Roma’s restaurants and the S&M coordinator for both is my colleague Solange Croes. If you can correct the info, that will be nice. Thank you in advance. Sunshi, Peggy
14-BIS REVEALS NEW CPNCEPT. Rembrandt Café at the SoBe Centre sold to a Dutch entrepreneur while Da Vinci is still looking for takers. While the traffic in those café slowed down a bit, part owners Milca & Steph Legger were able to formulate two other locations, Matthew’s Beachside Restaurant at Casa De Mar and 14-Bis at Reina Beatrix airport, between the US departure and general arrival halls. Matthew’s serves nicely plated dishes against the backdrop of a gorgeous ocean. Wish I could move my office there, and look out to sea and sip cappuccinos all day. The place is named in honor of Milca & Steph’s son, and is managed by Ricardo, an efficient and dynamic family member. Tuesday is a good night, all you care to eat ribs, sweetly priced and tasting nice. After some trials and tribulations Bis-14 at the airport defined its niche, lunch by weight, $2 per Gr 100. Apparently the concept is popular in Brazil – Lunch Por Kilo – as you can buy as little or as much, from a buffet of salads, sushi rolls, stews, seafood, pastas and side dishes. Best of all they will pay for your parking ticket with the purchase of a meal. 14-Bis enjoys a modern design with retro touches, people in a rush, may order off the ready to go Boarding Now, menu.