A “high-priced coffee shop” located at Block 848, Yishun Street 81 has changed hands for a whopping $40 million, but only four of the original 14 vendors have chosen to renew their contracts.
The coffee shop will be renovated for a month starting on 1 October 2022, and will not reopen until November.
Rent Prices Increased Following Change in Ownership
After it was announced publicly that a local catering company had bought over the KPT coffee shop for S$40 million, more and more people started taking notice of the rising stall rent and food prices.
70% of the current vendors, who all plan to shift their businesses to other locations, say that the reasons for not renewing their contracts are the shortage of manpower and rising rental costs.
According to Lianhe Zaobao, the few vendors who did decide to stay mainly did so for the sake of their loyal customers and some also stated that the increase in rent prices was still within their acceptable range.
Nearby residents interviewed said that they were more concerned about getting delicious food at affordable prices in their area than seeing a change in vendors.
On Wednesday (7 September), a reporter from Lianhe Zaobao visited the coffee shop and found that at least five of the stalls were emptied out and seemingly closed for good. That was when several stall owners who chose not to be named informed the media that only four of the 14 stalls would continue to operate after the new catering group takes over, and that new stalls are expected to move in.
Mr Lin, 56, who owns a seafood stall in the coffee shop told the reporter that he chose to renew his contract because he has been running the business at that location for 15 years, during which he grew his loyal base of customers. As soon as the news of the coffee shop changing hands spread, everyone asked him if he would move out.
“The support of regular customers is one of the reasons why I stay,” he told them.
As opposed to having to search for other stalls and rebuild his reputation in a new location, Mr Lin said he prefers to do business with regular customers.
“I don’t live far, so even if the (rental price) is $2,000, it’s still within my acceptable range.”
To See if Prices are Affected Following Reopening
The coffee shop will not officially open until 1 November after renovations are complete. Mr Lin said that he has seen the draft sketches of the new design, and that while the location of his store may be changed, he is still looking forward to it.
As for food prices, he would consider raising the prices of his dishes by $0.50-$1 to offset the higher rent.
Mr Shen, 67, who owns a BBQ Chicken Wing stall is another owner who also also decided to renew his contract. He believes that regular customers will continue to visit after the renovation. At the same time, he will monitor the situation and potentially make slight adjustments to the prices of his food of his food.
The other 10 vendors have since chosen to close their business or reopen in other coffee shops.
Mr Ho, the owner of the claypot stall spoke with Lianhe Zaobao about his decision to set up a new stall in Tampines. During the interview, he said that the 50% increase in rent was the main reason for him choosing not to renew the contract.
He further elaborated that his original stall used to be in the middle of the coffee shop, with a good location that was favourable for business, so the rent was naturally more expensive.
A nearby resident named Chen Weiwei who is a retire, is a frequent visitor to the coffee shop. She told the reporter that while she is sad to see the departure of some old stalls, she does not think that residents will be affected greatly.
She said that there are many coffee shops nearby for residents to choose from, and that the fierce competition will mean that residents do not have to worry about running out of food options.
Mr Li, a 45-year-old salesman also said that he could understand and respect the decision of the stall owners who chose not to renew their contracts.
“If the stall owner continues running his business after the rent increase, the prices of food will inevitably increase, and customers will not stand to benefit. With the rotation of vendors, new vendors will have the opportunity to settle in providing delicious and affordable food for residents to shop around and choose from.”
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