When Geoff O’Neill wants to get a taste of his homeland, crumpets in particular, he goes to Pond Hoppers.
“You can buy stuff like this you can’t buy anywhere else,” said O’Neill, who is from Lincoln, a town located northeast of London. “There’s nothing like it.”
Located in Fort Lauderdale right outside of Wilton Manors in the same plaza as Egg N’ You Diner, 2629 N. Federal Highway, Pond Hoppers sells bangers, biscuits (that’s sausage and cookies for you yanks), tea, chocolate, back bacon, pork and mince pies, blood pudding, curry, potato chips, flags, license plates, mouse pads, hats and other British foods and products.
“Our best-selling product is British bangers,” said owner Rob Brady.
Originally from Manchester in northern England, Brady moved to The States in 2003 and opened Pond Hoppers two years later after a stint in the travel industry.
“I knew there were plenty of British people here. I thought, ‘If I’m missing things, everybody else must be missing them, too.’”
That longing for a literal taste of home is what makes Brits about 90 percent of Brady’s customers. The rest, he said, are Americans looking to try something different, “especially if they’ve traveled.”
According to the British American Chamber of Commerce, about 100,000 Brits live in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Brady also sells online to customers in cities on both coasts and “everywhere in between.”
And Brady promises a different experience with British products, especially bacon and chocolate, which have less fat and sugar, respectively, than their American counterparts. “We call your bacon ‘stringy bacon’ because of all the fat. Ours is much more lean.” That’s not to say Brady doesn’t like American products. “It’s all about your taste buds,” he said.
But while bacon and chocolate are in stock at Pond Hoppers, the name, which comes from the British nickname for the Atlantic Ocean, The Pond, has led to some confusion on the part of some people from The States.
Occasionally, Brady, who “literally jumped The Pond” to be here, will get a call asking if he sells pool supplies.
Calls like that are the perfect opportunity to sell another item available for sale at Pond Hoppers – The UK to USA Dictionary.
Pond Hoppers is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit PondHoppers.net for more information.