If you’re a fan of minced meat noodles, you’ve probably tried (or at least heard of) the Lai Heng Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle stall.
The stall, which was set up by Li Huiping (Hanyu pinyin), sells Teochew-style minced meat noodles at Toa Payoh and has been in operation for almost 40 years.
What’s even more impressive is that it has remained in Toa Payoh since it opened in 1985.
The noodle stall was first opened at Block 85C Toa Payoh Lorong 2 before it moved to Block 51 Toa Payoh Lorong 6.
Ultimately, the stall moved one more time to Block 73 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 around four years ago and is still located there.
However, it made headlines last July after the owners announced that they were looking for a buyer to take over the business.
At that point in time, Mr Li, who is 64 years old, was keen on selling the stall’s branding, signboard, secret recipes and cooking methods for $500,000 and hoped that someone would be interested in taking over the business.
However, it seems like the brand’s not going to be sold to anyone anytime soon, for the owner and his family have decided that they’re going to continue running the business.
Here’s why, as well as who will be running the business from now onwards.
Stall Will Be Run by Owner’s Younger Sister, Her Daughter and Her Niece
When speaking to Shin Min Daily News on Sunday (29 January) afternoon, Mr Li’s younger sister told reporters that the stall will now be mainly run by her, her daughter and her niece.
The sister, Li Huijin (Hanyu pinyin), revealed that Mr Li will continue to be the company’s boss but will step back from the day-to-day operations of the stall.
As for herself, she said that she has since been promoted to the role of “manager” after helping her brother run the stall for 30 years.
She also revealed that her niece, 50-year-old Zheng Lishan (Hanyu pinyin), has been helping out at the stall for many years and will continue to do so.
Last but not least, Ms Li’s daughter has also been involved in the business for around a decade.
Her daughter, 35-year-old Guan Jingwen (Hanyu pinyin), will also continue to run the business alongside Ms Li.
Why They Chose to Sell the Business At First
But wait, if they chose to continue running the business, why did they even try to sell it in the first place?
According to Ms Li, the family initially chose to try and sell the business as she and her siblings are getting on in years.
Ms Li shared that in recent years, Mr Li only comes to the stall for around two to three hours a day to help out as he is getting older.
They also have an older brother and sister who occasionally help at the stall, but Ms Li explained that working in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry is extremely tough, mainly due to their age.
She then pointed out that even her niece is 50 now, and her arms are not as strong as before.
As for her daughter, Ms Li said that Ms Guan would not be able to manage an entire stall by herself even though she was keen on helping out with the business.
Coupled with the difficulty of hiring stall assistants these days, the family decided to put the brand up for sale after holding a family meeting.
Eventually Decided to Continue Running the Stall After Encouragement from Son and Daughter-in-Law
However, after announcing that they were selling their brand, negotiations with around seven or eight groups of interested buyers ultimately fell through.
After the negotiations, Ms Li’s son and daughter-in-law noticed that she was probably reluctant to let go of the stall.
Hence, they encouraged her to continue running the business as long as her body is still fit enough and allows her to do so.
They also offered to help her at the stall after finishing their work commitments.
For example, they told Ms Li that they would help out on weekends if they do not need to work as the stall is usually the busiest during weekends.
This encouragement and support eventually led to the family’s decision to continue running the business by themselves for the time being since they now have the help of the younger generation.
Got Into Serious Negotiations With 7 to 8 Groups of Interested Buyers, But Buyers Didn’t Want to Take Over the Business Completely
As for why negotiations with prospective buyers fell through, Ms Li said that it was largely because they had different plans and visions for the business compared to the buyers.
She also disclosed that around ten groups of buyers approached the family to enquire about purchasing the business, but they only ended up getting into negotiations with seven or eight of them.
However, most of the buyers suggested signing a contract that would allow them to hold a small portion of the businesses’ shares or let them help run the stall.
They even received offers from buyers who were keen on just providing the money to let Ms Li and her family continue running the stall.
However, the family’s initial plan was to completely let go of the business, which led to unsuccessful negotiations.
As for what plans the family has for the business after deciding that they will continue to run it, Ms Li explained that they are taking it one step at a time.
She even said that they might end up assisting her daughter in the years to come as her daughter will gain more experience in running the business over the next few years.
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Featured Image: Shin Min Daily News
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