Celebrating 60 Years of Excellence Stores

The Siu-Chong Family through the Generations

In 1937 at the age of twenty, Siu Joy Chong left his homeland in Guandgdong, China to seek his fortunes. His travels brought him to Trinidad where he worked along his fellow countrymen learning a new language and a new culture. In 1948, through an arranged marriage, his bride, Lau Hong Ling, only seventeen years old, travelled from China to meet her husband.

This is where the story of Excellent Stores began. Little did this couple know that the variety store, Excellent Trading, that they first opened in 1958 would be the start of a retail chain celebrating sixty years of existence in their new home country of Trinidad and Tobago.

Siu Joy Chong, the quiet observer with a vision and Lau Hong Ling, the outgoing people person, had six sons. It was Franco, their third son who showed a passion and aptitude for business.

In 1975, Franco and his wife Richalene, returned to Trinidad to join the family business which grew with branches in Port of Spain and San Fernando.

After more than twenty-five years of hard work, tragedy struck. Both branches of Excellent Trading were destroyed by fire on March 18th, 1985. The family was determined to continue, building back the business slowly.

In 1988, the family purchased the F.W. Woolworth chain, which was in receivership. The hundred-year-old Woolworth building at 3 Frederick Street, Port of Spain became the flagship store. In 1989, the name was changed from Excellent Trading to Excellent Stores in keeping with the transition from a variety store to a department store, offering all of life’s essentials in home care, baby & toys, health & beauty, electronics, outdoor & travel, Christmas and more.

Even with further tragedies, such as the Coup in 1990 and a fire in the Port of Spain store in 2001, the grit, determination and perseverance showed as the company continued to grow and etch their name into the country’s retail landscape.

In 2012, Franco and Richalene’s eldest son, Alex and his wife Lisa, joined the company to continue the succession into a third generation. Under Alex’s directorship, the e-commerce arm of the company was established.

Excellent Stores, which has humble beginnings in their founders, Siu Joy Chong and Hong Ling, now celebrates sixty years of existence with six brick and mortar stores across Trinidad & Tobago and a convenient e-commerce website, offering a true omni-channel shopping experience.