The decision to close the iconic store on the main street could not have been easy. Or perhaps it was very easy, a relief, to finally admit that times have changed and that La Linda’s particular kind of shopping experience has been made obsolete.
I stepped into the store yesterday, the inventory seemed low, or maybe the store is enormous and no amount of merchandise could fill it. I was told a sale is coming, pronto.
I wanted to ask a few questions, but Aaron Hochman told me to submit them in writing. I did. I hope he answers one day. But a one on one conversation would have been better.
This is what I know from previous columns: Haim Hochman came back to La Linda a few years ago, as his mother asked him to take an active role in rebuilding the business that started more than 85 years ago, by grandpa, carrying merchandise to the far corners of Aruba on the backs of two donkeys.
A wooden shack behind Aruba Bank came next, which led to the no-longer-there triple-decker in the middle of the main street, consumed by flames years ago.
We’ve had a few fires, Haim shared, including a big one in Dakota, in the warehouse.
Haim must be the world’s best employer because his employees never leave. That business has zero turn-over. Some of the ladies have been there for over 50 years. The oldest employee according to Aaron, is 80 years old.
Through thick and thin La Linda stocked clothing, household goods, fabric and shoes for every member of the family, all under one roof, and over the last few years while the shelves were loaded, the store remained quite empty.
Clients, explained Haim, have little expendable cash, besides, it is difficult to get to La Linda, with the parking situation and all. In the old days, clients would be dropped off by their kids at the door and picked up after shopping, now with the tram running, the access to the store is inadequate.
The main street Haim thought, became better-looking, but very impractical.
He also lamented that his plans to build a nice four-story parking facility in the back weren’t approved.
The government wanted to dig in a parking facility and build a park on top, a super expensive and ambitious project, digging into coral, below water level. But until they find the money to do it, clients are welcome to park anywhere they find a spot and come in anyway, there will be lots of good bargains and deals in the coming days.
The store’s last effort to energize its client-base was via a membership card connected to an automatic 20% discount, and a full color magazine, remember, we used to get it in our mail box, but that attempt fizzled.
One month ago, I bought upholstery fabric at La Linda, it was very reasonably priced and of good quality and Michael Douglass helped me make a crazy decision, bright orange and lime green for my dining room chairs. They look great!