Merchant of the Month: January 2016

Monday, December 28, 2015
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Merchant of the Month: January 2016

 

21 Street Eating House

Owner: Mr Soh

Owner Profile: Mr Soh has been running his business in the Center of Tampines N2 for close to 30 years. That’s right, he is none other than the owner of 21 Street Eating House. Having a history in the restaurant business, Mr Soh answered the call to his passion of beverages when he got his current plot of coffee shop through balloting. He tells us that the old days were especially hard when he first started out. Deciding to rough it out, 21 Street Eating House have been in good business till this very day. Besides just providing drinks, Mr Soh loves meeting and conversing with people, and as such, made many friends with long time customers which still visit till today.

Shop Profile: 21 Street Eating House is open from 5.00am to 11.45pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The eating house sells all kind of beverages and light refreshments.

Q&A:

Looking back at the past few decades of being in business, what are your thoughts?

I have been in Tampines N2 for a long, long time. My first three years were especially challenging. During those trying years, at times I could only manage to rent out five of my ten stalls. But I am really grateful that I managed to last through those early hardships and get to where I am today. Currently I am even beginning to hand over the family business to the second generation, my two daughters. I believe we can keep this place running and provide food and drink to the residents around for many years to come.

Having been around for so long, how much attachment do you have with Tampines N2 and its residents?

I definitely have an attachment to my business and the residents around here. Some of the stalls in 21 Street Eating House have been with me since day one that we opened for business. We have been working together for so long that we have become good friends. For some of these stalls, I have even seen the business being passed down to the next generation. We aim to build long term partnerships here.

As for residents and customers, many of them have become friends as well. Interestingly, there are times where my customers tell me that during their holidays, they will miss our coffee and would make it a point to sit down for a cup the first chance they get once they are back. There are also customers who moved to other parts of Singapore, but still come back every weekend to have their cup of coffee. Others will also return to my eating house to have a drink when they are visiting their parents. Some of them are resident’s children that I have seen grow up and move out of tampines. Indeed there is a sense of deep attachment here.

Do you have any advice for people going into the Coffee Shop business?

One important advice I can give is that for every business, you will need to go along with the times. This world is constantly changing in many ways. Customers preferences, habits, the price of goods or beverages, all these have gone though many changes since I started business here. One example of keeping with the times is the fact that I have had 3 major renovations to the coffee shop  in our many years of business. I try to keep the place fresh and clean for my customers.

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