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In 1938, Eric Ponson started working at General Store situated in Oranjestad. After only two years, when the owner decided to sell General Store, because of disappointing sales of the jewelry store he had taken over from Mrs. Olga Vasquez. Eric Ponson did not hesitate and decided to buy General Store.
Buying a store and thus going from employee to owner of a business with a debt of 11.000 guilders as not an easy task. Together with one employee, Eric did his utmost to keep General Store afloat. If for whatever reason he did not have an item in his store, he would go to his competitor (Wimco), buy that item needed, go back to the store and made sure he was ready to sell that item when the client returned.
As the saying goes: “Behind every successful man, is a strong woman”.
In the case of Eric Ponson, this was no different. As General Store progressed and slowly became successful, Mrs. Irene Ponson, came in to assist her husband. Irene Ponson is a visionary, she knew exactly where and how to invest and within a short amount of time in 1970, General Store moved to a better location at the Steenweg. This aloud for a lot more merchandize, products and employees. Supply and demand was as such, that General Store became the number 1 electrical business. The place where you went to find bulbs, cables, outlets or any other electrical equipment you needed.
Business kept going so well that the location at the Steenweg became too small. It was time to move to a bigger and more central location within enough parking spaces to accommodate the clientele. With this in mind, General Store was moved to Dakota Shopping Paradise. However, this location became too small very soon, which resulted in constructing a building big enough for a rapidly growing business. General Store moved from Dakota Shopping Paradise to Pedro Gallego Straat. With this move, an expansion was decided upon and an electronics store in Savaneta was opened. General Store still being very successful was ready for more growth. Even though Eric Ponson did not agree with such an expansion, a two story store, to be able to not only expand the electrical department, but also expand to a more variety of products, decided to trust the vision of his wife and children and agree on this expansion.
Ricky, Kenneth, Corine and Frans are the fruits of his marriage. They worked at their parent’s side every day until they were ready to go abroad to study. In was in their backyard that all containers were stalled. This is why all four children know everything there is to know about the business. Many regular clients can still remember how the children helped around the store. Especially at the end of the year when business is at its peak. Ricky and Corine eventually decided to pursue careers outside of the business. Kenneth and Frans however, decided to further develop their father’s legacy.
It was still Irene’s dream to expand the business. Irene didn’t just want an expansion in square feet only. Irene wanted an expansion in merchandize as well. Such as garden tools and accessories, as well as merchandize for the home. This is why the search for a piece of property commenced. A great opportunity presented itself when the Ponson family was able to buy a piece of property across from the airport. As every successful business does, the pros and cons were discussed and the property was bought and the build of the new General Store building commenced. In 2007 the Ponson family moved into their brand new and huge building. Ponson’s General Store now had an electrical department, as housewares department, a paint department, a hardware department. There was ever room for a restaurant.
After a successful opening and expansion, Kenneth and Frans who inherited their mothers vision, decided General Store was reading for yet another expansion. Together with investors a visibility report was drafted, which resulted in Noord being a very good location for another store.The search for a well located property commenced. One day, while on their way to the beach, when a big property engulfed in trees and shrubbery was spotted. After negotiation with the owner, that piece of property was purchased. Soon after the purchase, with the support of Mr. Tom Barfell and management of Do it Best in the States, the construction of Do it Center commenced. Mrs. Claudia Ponson, Kenneth his wife, was the mastermind behind the interior decoration, making sure the interior of the store was according the Do it Bestguidelines.
Fast forward to today. A Do it Center in Aruba, with more than 50.000 top of the line items
for interior as well exterior use, building materials, STO products. We are the largest, local owned Do it Center in the Caribbean. We are not a franchise; we are still and always will be a 100% locally owned family business.
Perseverance, responsibility, vision and the courage to invest have made Ponson’s General Store as successful as it is today. However, without the hard work and dedication of our employees we would not have made it this far.