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“Panama Proved to be a Pleasant Surprise”

Page 3 of 4

by Sandra Snyder

Hans Darmont, Legal Representative, B.I.S. Overseas arrived in Panama with his wife, Albena, one month before the birth of their first child. While he was excited about helping to expand B.I.S. and establish a new warehouse in Colon for the company’s cigar import business, his first priority was getting his family settled and ready for the new arrival. A year later, B.I.S. Overseas has 7 components, of which Casa de Habana in Obarrio is the best known. It imports over 300 styles and kinds of cigars from Cuba and is one of only 40 such businesses in the world. Hans calls it a Boutique business as it is so specialized offering its clients a club-like atmosphere for buying, storing and enjoying cigars.

Before relocating to Panama, which was his fourth move, Hans was located in Eastern Europe or the “Wild East” as it was known after the curtain fell. Comparatively, he describes it as “ lacking in facilities and an adequate standard of living”. He says he and his family rank Panama as number 2 in places to live after only Switzerland. Not only is Panama modern, coming here was the easiest move logistically. “Thanks to the assistance of the relocation company”, they were able to find a lovely apartment within a couple of days and that left them time to address their number one concern – medical care for Albena.

Again, the assistance of the relocation specialist guided them through hospital selection, doctor, and Lamaze classes. They found the gynecologist in Panama had better equipment than even Switzerland. This is now a truly international family as Hans is Belgian, Albena Bulgarian and baby Alison Natalie is Panamanian. While the supermarkets in Eastern Europe were very limited, the markets in Panama are very sophisticated. However, Hans finds the “incredible amount of paperwork required at every turn whether for business or personal needs can be overwhelming.”

When the offer came with B.I.S., Hans was very interested in crossing to another continent to work and live in a different culture. He was also excited about the opportunity to be involved with a start-up company. The last year has been exciting as the company now has its warehouse in place in Colon and Hans is starting a major remodel on the Cigar store. This is “a multi-national European company and it has been challenging to find solutions to problems in working in Panama”. Hans’ goal is to “implement the same high standards of European-type of customer service in Panama that he is accustomed to in Europe”. The people he has met here are friendly, helpful and polite and, therefore, more than compensate for any shortcomings he has experienced. He and his family have no complaints with living here and except for dealing with the bureaucracy, they find Panama an easy place to live.

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The International Book Fair 2009
Sandra will be available to autograph books and answer questions
August 19
through August 23, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Info

Gran Morrison will inaugurate Book Week with Panama Authors: Sandra Snyder, Rose Marie Tapia, Rafael Candanedo and Rosita Cordoba.
September 19, 2008, 4:00 p.m. at Gran Morrison El Dorado, El Dorado Mall.

Tuesday Morning Meeting
Sandra will share some of her experiences and provide some helpful hints for better living in Panama. Info
March 11, 2008

P.B.C. Person2Person
Sandra & David on the radio. Podcast
January, 2008

 

 

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