Another island note…
In the past decade there have been a proliferation of new Chinese-owned stores on the island. There are grocery stores and supply warehouses. And bars too with great names like the Yummy Yummy, the Hung Star Bar and the New Wai Thai. But the store that was here long before all the newcomers, Tung Fong, in my humble opinion still remains the leader. Tung Fong Store carries everything. Need a good plastic bucket? Go to TFS.
How about a refreshing bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine, a relic of my misspent youth? (Looking at you, Ricky) Yes, they have that too. I was unaware that the rot-gut adult beverage was still being produced so be sure to check the expiration date. Karnival costumes? You bet – masks, sequenced gowns, magical wands.
There are hula hoops, shoes, bicycle tires, Hawaiian leis, canned goods, perfume, children’s toys, mops, flip flops, candles, kites, incense, hair products, Tiger Balm and everything else to fulfill your needs and wants.
Tung Fong reminds me of the mercantile stores of 19th century America, but island style. They have it all, and when living on a rock this is really important. A couple of years ago I needed to buy a tennis ball. There are no sporting goods stores here so I went to TF. I was able to buy a 3-pack for $2. Upon arriving home, I opened the package and threw one to the ground. Thud! The ball bounced a mere inch off the ground and then begrudgingly rolled off under my cat, Pirate. She was not amused, but more importantly, I wasn’t disappointed. My physical
therapist terrorist recommended using a tennis ball for foot massage so this just worked out fine-no bounce needed. You wouldn’t see me on the court anyways (yes, there are a few on Bonaire). Those days are long gone so Roger Federer can rest easy.
But this store has many fine products. Need some attractive gift wrap paper? You can buy it by the sheet. The ladies will also cut off a length of ribbon for you. It is charged by the inch. The same is true for zippers. This kind of custom service harkens back to the days when kids could by penny candy at their local corner stores. I revel in the fact that this store still exists in the new millennium.
So, the next time you are filling your cart at a mainland megastore with blank-faced employees seen after the reluctantly smiling greeter at the entrance, think about Tung Fong. It’s an all-in-one store and service with a smile.