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Thread: Rona Reminisces - Ling and Sons

  1. #1
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    Rona Reminisces - Ling and Sons

    By Rona Coster
    Nostalgia: A column I wrote for an upcoming commemorative book, will be published by ECA NV, about Ling & Sons Supermarket!

    I became a client of Ling & Sons Supermarket at their downtown location on Weststraat in the late ‘70s. I was new to the island at the time, and everything seemed different and challenging except the market shelves, which carried products I was familiar with, making me feel right at home. I also learned a new thing: to buy bok choy for my soup, and sweetened condensed milk for my coffee! If truth be told, I was perfectly happy at the four-aisle Weststraat store, with the occasional leaking refrigerator. I developed informal and friendly relationships with the Ling family members, especially Mrs. Ingrid Ling, who listened to every request, big or small, for specialized products and seasonal selections, which she promptly imported, making sure we were notified that the items arrived in time for the holiday.
    The big transition came with the move to Eagle. I simply loved that new and improved market! It was big enough and small enough, I learned the ins and outs in just one walk-through, and things were laid out logically and never changed location. The easy-to-trace, foolproof layout was genial, and we were introduced to a great selection of new products. Yes, you are right, who needs 20 brands of tomato ketchup when I only buy Heinz, but it’s really nice to have them available for price-conscious shoppers! That market ushered in a new era for fruits and vegetables on the island with unprecedented amazingly fresh displays. The butcher shop was five-star and the bakery—wow, the bakery—was over-the-top delicious!
    I was perfectly content at the eight-aisle supermarket on Italienstraat and continued to nurture friendly relationships with the Ling family members, adding Yolanda Ling to my list of special people. She always had time to chat, comment, educate, and enlighten.
    Then came the surprise. The eight-aisle supermarket on Italienstraat turned into a twelve-aisle giant—a much-improved, modern and stylish food emporium. The larger-format market allowed the introduction of more specialized products and seasonal selections. The expatriate community in Aruba was happy when Mrs. Ingrid Ling adopted the American holiday calendar, remembering to bring in every traditionally required item to celebrate fun occasions from Halloween and Thanksgiving to Easter. She made sure to save me a Butterball turkey if I was late shopping in November, and she recalled we liked glazed spiral hams for Easter. Giving Passover an equal opportunity, Mrs. Ling regularly brought in the unleavened bread crackers eaten by the Jewish community. She steadily diversified our diets by presenting us with many Indian and Chinese ingredients, and looked out for our health with more fruits and vegetables, never neglecting to order the latest diet trends, including extensive low-fat/low-sugar everything.
    Clean, friendly, nicely merchandised, and best of all, manned by the same expert butcher, the same wizard baker, the same smiling cashiers, and the same efficient supervisors, with the ever-sensible, available, and patient Mrs. Ingrid Ling on the floor, ready to answer all questions and follow up on all requests.
    And, of course, we enjoyed the annual New Year’s firework show. It was well orchestrated and enthusiastically received.
    The Lings had their finger on our lifestyle pulse for many years. It all seemed so easy and effortless with them around, and the store was always stocked and prepared. I have to shower them with special compliments for that: In spite of the difficulties of being dependent on ocean liners and containers, the show went on, and we never left the market disappointed.


  2. #2
    Senior Member WaltVB's Avatar
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    A nicely written article detailing the growth of Ling and Sons. Although we shop mostly at Superfoods, Lings has a lot of specific items we still go there for.

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