The new, official inflation statistics were published by CBS this October, 2016. On Bonaire the price of goods and services were up 0.6 percent in the third quarter versus 0.4 percent in the second quarter. Food products and soft drinks were the main contributors to the inflation increase, as well as gas and petrol prices.
Inflation has been a problem for several years and makes survival very difficult for many families on the island. With the constitutional and currency changes, prices on the island started to rise as of October, 2010. The increases in the cost of food, a necessity for everyone, made the financial struggles of many very visible.
Double tax, transportation costs and the international financial crisis were given as the explanation for the continuously rising prices. Many had their doubts about these statements.
Ronald Schalker, owner of the Dive Hut since 2011, didn’t want to accept this reasoning and started to research the cost of bringing affordable goods to the island in the summer of 2013, and… succeeded.
Ronald, who was born in the Netherlands, spent 20 years of his life in Switzerland, working as an accountant and later as the financial director of an aviation company, before he came with his wife to Bonaire.
Ronald was the person who initiated Bondigro. Originally meant to be setup as a cooperative, residents were asked to join and be part of the goal - to make Bonaire more affordable for all.
Because of the complicated administrative procedures needed to run the company in that manner, Bondigro now has many shareholders, but the final goal of bringing affordable goods to the island has not changed in any way.
Bondigro first opened its doors in December, 2013. The storehouse, located on Kaya Industria is packed with everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and dairy products to TV’s and washing machines. Even cars are available!
The Bondigro Effect
Bondigro has already made a change on the island. Not only are the basic necessities available at a decent price, but other suppliers, who were able to ask any price before, must now watch the prices of what their competitors are offering. A healthy competition has finally been established with Bondigro as a kind of “watch dog” on the market.
If you have been to Bondigro, you saw the staff working hard. Not only are they very friendly and helpful, but they seem to really be part of the whole concept. Bondigro makes sure that the staff is paid and treated fairly in accordance with their great performance.
Bondigro Culture Fund
A fixed percentage of Bondigro’s revenues go to their cultural fund. Non-commercial cultural activities and projects can qualify for funding through the Bondigro-Culture fund. The entire population of Bonaire can apply for funding. Please Note! The Bondigro-Cultural Fund has its own independent board that approves all requests.
December, 2016 – The move is to come!
Not everyone has been comfortable shopping at the old storehouse of Bondigro. Bonaireans and other residents who have been on the island for many years remember the old storehouses and conditions. People who are new to the island and accustomed to the modern supermarkets in the States or Europe are not, but change is soon to come!
As most of us already know, Bondigro will soon move into their brand new building on Kaya Industria, located opposite Don Andres, in December, 2016. Bondigro feels lucky that the owner of the building and property, Antonio da Silva, has built such a luxurious shop, office and storehouse.
They also invested in solar panels to make their power usage more affordable in the long run and to be part of our island’s sustainability goal.
Their approximately 15 employees can’t wait to move to the new building.
Just another overpriced shop?
With the new location, many fear that the prices will go up and Bondigro will turn into just another overpriced supermarket, but nothing is further from the truth.
The goal of making goods of many kinds more affordable to all residents is still the main goal and will not change. Bondigro is still not meant to make any profits, but if they do, it will only mean that the prices will go down or will be invested into developing something new that is needed on the island.
The new supermarket will offer:
freshly baked bread from the Dutch Bakery
more than 90 different fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs
cold meats, cheeses, dairy products
a butcher and meat department
electronics (TV, computer)
hygiene and cosmetics
And much more to come.
Bondigro is open 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm daily. Sunday's from 8.00 am - 1.00 pm
Tip: Fresh containers are mostly in the store on Saturday.
With its new location, Bondigro hopes to attract even more customers. This would result in bigger order volumes which will mean even lower prices and better survival for us ALL.