Merchant of the Month: September 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015
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Merchant of the Month: September 2015

Peng Lian Dept. Store

 

Owner: Mr Peter

 

Owner Profile: Introducing himself as Peter, the current owner of Peng Lian Department Store has taken over the business from his parents. His mother still helps out at the store, along with a close relative. He says that during some major festivals he hires one or two more staff to help with the higher volume of sales. Mr Peter has a very humble and approachable nature, and tries his best to help out customers in whatever way he can. He has rented half of his shop space to a hairdresser ever since his joss products business started.

 

Shop Profile: Peng Lian Department Store is located at Tampines N2 201B. It is opened from 8.00am to 8.30pm, 7 days a week. They are only closed during Chinese New Year for the first two and a half days. The store has a wide selection of joss products and items.

 

Q&A:

How did your business first start out?

When we first opened, we were not selling joss paper. As you can see from our name, we were a department store selling your everyday items like soap and even clothes. It was only up till about seven years ago that we officially started to do business in joss paper. We decided to head in this direction because the department store business was not too well, and our family has a background in matters regarding joss paper and the like. Although we started out with limited experience, though the past years we have continually learnt and picked things up. At the start of our joss paper business, by coincidence there was a nearby joss paper shop that closed down and sold us some fixtures and items.

 

How is business now as compared to when you first started?

I would say that joss product sales are slowly declining. Perhaps the new generation feel less attached to these rituals and practices. I know of some families that no longer burn their incense daily, and do so less often. For the big festivals our sales are still as good as before though. That can be due to the fact that during those festivals people feel more obliged, and some of the younger generation follow their parents on those festivals.

 

Who are your main customers and when are your peak sales period?

We do get many returning customers, with joss sticks and other products being a constant need for some. We also sell coffee beans, so there are customers for that as well.

 

For us, the main peaks in sales happen on the first and fifteenth day of every month, as well as festivals like Qing Ming, Chinese New Year and the Seventh Month.

 

Are there any interesting stories you have come across?

We do have some customers who come to buy joss products and say that that they had dreams of their late parents or relatives having nothing to wear or having not enough to eat. Because that stirred something in them, they will come down to buy some of the needed items to offer up.

 

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