Years of history in family store

A photograph of the original premises of AP Jones.

Fish Hoek is celebrating its 100th birthday next year and plans are afoot to rejuvenate the town and market it nationally and internationally.

According to the 2011 Census, Fish Hoek is home to 11 890 residents. Some have lived here for most of their lives while others are newcomers who wish to be part of the quaint little town which was established in 1918.

Back then, Jacob Isaac de Villiers and his wife, Hester Sophia had great vision for the farmland on which Fish Hoek is based today.

As the owner of the land, Hester Sophia made provisions in her will for the farm to be surveyed and to be sold as building plots with the first sale taking place in 1918.

As the town had a good train service to Cape Town, the population soon increased and more development started to take place.

One such a development was the opening of a retail outlet in 1928, known today as AP Jones.

Founder, Albert Pascoe Jones and his wife, Florence, had four children. Jennifer Jones, their youngest daughter married Fritz Bing who bought the store from the Jones family in 1984 and today, is owned and run by Greg Bing, the grandson of Mr Jones.

Mr Bing joined his parents in 1984 at the age of 23 and his elder brother, Rick joined them in 1992.

They later took over the store from their parents, running it together until February 2016 when Rick left the business, making Greg the sole owner of the outlet.

Throughout the years, the family has been witness to the many changes in Fish Hoek.

Reminiscing, Greg said the initial store was more of a ladies store, stocking mostly haberdashery, wool and material while the men’s department was a separate store situated where Papa Joe’s is currently.

Greg said in the 89 years of the existence of the store it has only had four fashion buyers, being his grandmother, Florence, his aunt, Barbara Jones, his mother, Jennifer and now his wife, Lynn.

The store is now a one stop shop stocking menswear, ladieswear, footwear, surfwear, homeware and gifts.

The original store was situated in the building next to the Victorian Times where the kayak store is currently based. In 1951 the current building, which is now owned by Fritz, was built and the store was relocated there.

“It was a very modern building at the time,” Greg said.

In 1977, the family bought a house which was situated behind the building and expanded the shop.

“At the time, it was the only walkway between the car park and the main road and employees of the bank often used to walk through the store to get to work,” he said.

In 1987, the arcade walkway was built and in 2008, they enclosed the back entrance, making the side entrance opposite Pick * Pay the main entrance.

He said the store often made use of the train for receiving goods and to deliver items ordered via the telephone.

Greg, who grew up in Noordhoek, said one of the most significant changes he has witnessed is the development of Sun Valley as a suburb and the development of Valleyland.

The area where the Valleyland centre is currently situated was originally a dairy shop called Cron’s Dairy and belonged to the Cronwright family.

And while much has also changed in Fish Hoek, the good service the Bing family offers to their loyal clients remains the same.