Merchant of the Month: February 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015
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Merchant of the Month: February 2015

Tampines Four Star Provision & Stationery Traders

Owner: Mr Ameer.

 

Owner Profile: Mr Ameer, has been in this business for over 20 years. Starting out when Tampines N2 first started, Mr Ameer tended Tampines Four Star Provision & Stationery Traders, which belongs to his uncle. According to Mr Ameer, they used to have a shop somewhere in Eunos before relocating to Tampines. After his many years of shop keeping in Tampines N2, Mr Ameer picked up hokkien and can converse confidently in simple conversation.

 

Shop Profile: Tampines Four Star Provision & Stationery Traders is located at Tampines N2 Block 201. It is open from 8am to 8pm, and is closed every Friday. Operating like the traditional provision shop, Tampines Four Star Provision & Stationery Traders sells provisions according to the amount customers need. Rice can be bought by the kilogram, for example.

 

Q&A:

Looking back, how has business evolved over the years?

When we first started, business was better. Currently we face more competition from the big supermarket chains which sell almost everything. Back in the day, there were three Indian provision shops around the area. Now, this shop is the only one left. With the supermarket chains, things are a lot easier because you can buy most of what you need under one roof, and I think that suits today’s generation.

 

What are some of the ways you can stay competitive in today’s market then?

Being in business for so long, we have many long time customers from around the area. What we do to be different is to provide customers with more flexibility. Instead of selling in pre-set packets or amounts like the supermarkets do, we sell in smaller packets or by the kilogram. For example, we sell rice by the kilogram, and our curry powder and spices are in small, repacked packets. This is to serve small families or people that do not cook very often. Say you only need to cook curry once for the next few weeks. Buying a big packet of curry powder might not make sense then. For these types of customers, our system works perfectly. There are some things we sell that might not be easily found outside either, for example, freshly baked Indian tarts like Tempe Goreng, Muruku items and even freshly grinded coconut.

Our shop mostly sells provision items. The neighborhood here knows us well and many customers come here to buy provisions for the whole family. We are traditional, and we like to keep it that way. Basically anything you need for Indian curry, for example, can be found in our shop.

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