Jamaica Gleaner / In 1968, Angela and Bobby Chang opened their first Fontana location in Mandeville, Manchester. Today , 50 years later, it is arguably the largest pharmacy chain in Jamaica, having now expanded to Kingston, Savanna-la-Mar, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
Fontana’s mission is to offer the widest variety of goods at low prices in a pleasant atmosphere with easy parking and, above all, warm, friendly and efficient service. This successful model has enabled it to grow and overcome many obstacles.
“Many were sceptical when my parents decided to open the first Fontana at Manchester Shopping Centre,” says Fontana director Kevin O’Brien Chang. “Many thought the location was too far and inconvenient for persons in residential areas. But my parents understood that more persons were getting cars and wanted the ease of one-stop shopping.”
Their vision was vindicated, and Fontana is today a national brand, with one of the country’s most extensive ranges of health, beauty, family and home products, plus convenient business centres. Its core values remain service, respect, family and community. One of its greatest strengths is its hard working and loyal employees, some of whom have been there for over 40 years.
As Fontana celebrates its 50th anniversary, it continues to grow its connections with local manufacturers and artisans to support indigenous businesses and products, carrying a number of local brands.
Fontana has also kept pace with the digital age by developing one of Jamaica’s leading retail e-commerce sites. Fontanapharmacy.com currently has over 15,000 products on sale. As Chang says, “If you don’t move with the times, you are going to get left behind. And Fontana always tries to stay on the cutting edge.”
Here are some highlights of their 50th anniversary celebrations which took place in Mandeville on Wednesday.