President Chain Store Corp’s 7-Eleven convenience store chain opened its first store on Orchid Island (蘭嶼, also known as Lanyu) yesterday, after overcoming criticism from civic groups that the outlet would hurt the island’s indigenous culture.
The store opened its doors to business at 7am, with workers greeting customers using the Aboriginal Tao language spoken on the island, which lies about 80km off Taiwan proper’s southeastern coast.
Tao boys wearing traditional thongs danced during the opening ceremony. Open-chan, the dog-like mascot of 7-Eleven in Taiwan, was erected in front of the store — also dressed in a traditional Tao thong.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Lanyu Township (蘭嶼) Mayor Chiang To-li (江多利) said he was very thankful for the arrival of 7-Eleven, which he said would provide residents with many convenient services, such as fee and tax collection. Chiang also expressed the hope that the store would introduce an ATM soon, because there is only one such machine on the island.
The opening of the store was delayed earlier this year after it came under fire from civic groups and some locals, who said that it would bring about harmful changes to the local culture and way of life by promoting a materialistic mentality.
They urged President Chain Store Corp to reconsider its decision, but the company proceeded with its plan.
To celebrate the opening, a health station was set up inside the store to provide free blood pressure checks and liver disease screening for residents.
The online book retailer books.com.tw also donated 500 new books to teenagers on Orchid Island.
According to President Chain Store Corp, the Orchid Island store is the 52nd opened by the chain on outlying islands.
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