Visiting La Isla del Encanto, Puerto Rico is always a wonderful treat. Working with customers in Puerto Rico is like going home, customers are friends waiting for you with cold water or a good cup of coffee.
My first day is busy. Driving in the metropolitan area San Juan is a challenge. This small island is insane with traffic worse than anything you have ever experienced in LA. Puerto Rico has some of the narrowest streets know to man, women or beast. My last stop is a party house and between the selling and the hugs we catch up on all our personal business as well working the line. They never made it to the ARA show this year so this is perfect for them, I pull out all the new items, chevron, hitched, raw and the new polyester burlap… the green burlap is perfect color and texture to match some sheers she just purchased. It’s 8:30pm before I’m headed to the hotel. I check into the Marriott Courtyard on Isla Verde for the first time that day and it is late, but not to worry the lobby is popping salsa music is working its way into my blood stream and soon enough I have bowl of Yucca soup and Puerto Rico water bread…..awesome. Who is tried, dirty and sweaty not me.
Next day I drive to the other side of the Island Fajardo and spend the entire day showing our new line of Othello, Biltmore and the new Milliken Bistro style napkin. The 18×22 is sleek and good looking, perfect on a wooden farm table or everyday dining in your restaurant. The White stripe napkin is reminiscent of the famous Caribbean shirts “Guayabera” the look is very well received. Another late night, but again fun and invigorating, it was a mixed bag today of hotels, country clubs and rental houses. Everyone loves the wide pin tuck at 118 no more seams on the table, the 100% polyester makes washing this tried and true item a breeze. Event planners really love the lava in the wet color, good look for under the sea first night events. Everyone had some really good ideas and it made the day go smoothly knowing that some of these new items would turn out to be good additions to our line. Another late night finished off with rice, red beans tostones and chicken stew….just like Grandma always made.
Third day finds me in Caguas, I’m always convinced I can travel the entire Island in three days, crazy. I went through five small towns some of them only 15 miles apart but still it took the entire day, right into 6:30. Another wonderful day of business… I drank coffee at every stop, I’m so high on caffeine… I decide to stop at Plaza Las Americas “great mall”. This stop allows me some time to walk after all day in the car I need the exercise…plus it’s home to my favorite Chinese restaurant. I can get something to eat and pick up a charger for my computer. My charger is somewhere between Newark and San Juan, all I know it’s not in my briefcase. Good finish to a great day, stopped at the candy store in old San Juan.
My last day on the Island brings heavy rains in the morning but a dry early afternoon and everything smells amazing…you can taste the air. I continued to work until 4pm, pick up a cold drink at the Courtyard bar sit at the beach and fill out all my sample paperwork. I will be busy with all the follow up. Taking home a bottle of chocolate coquito, I’m thinking Cocotini on the rocks.