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  2005 Nov Issue
   
Cover Story
The new C-store — an avant garde 'shop-on-the-go'
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‘China’s retail industry tackles revalued currency
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Guardian plans chain of stores focused on beauty
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Sin Hwa Dee to franchise boutique gourmet store
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Rakuten to launch auctions site to rival Yahoo!


 




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Sin Hwa Dee to franchise boutique gourmet store

 


Singapore manufacturer Sin Hwa Dee is aiming to spice up "every corner of the world" with its Chng Kee's brand of oriental sauce and premixes. But first, it has ventured into retailing locally to raise brand awareness.

Sin Hwa Dee, a leading manufacturer of oriental sauces and spice mixes in Singapore, has made its first foray into retailing with the opening of Chng Kee's Spice of Life - a boutique gourmet store located on the resort island of Sentosa.

The speciality retail store, which softopened last June, was officially launched in August. It has attracted the attention of several potential investors locally and in the region, said Jocelyn Chng, managing director of Sin Hwa Dee.

The company has plans to franchise the concept in Singapore and abroad, Chng disclosed. However, she was quick to clarify that the new venture would not compete with supermarkets and other retail stores that distribute Sing Hwa Dee's products sold under the Chng Kee's label.

"As a manufacturer, it is difficult for us to be in direct contact with the endconsumer and we are looking for more channels to reach out to our customers and get their feedback. We do not intend to replace supermarkets; these will still be the main channel of retail sales for us, with our own speciality store serving as an entry point for customers.

"With our own shop, we not only create brand awareness but we also can be an information-and-education centre for the consumer. We are able to hold live cooking demonstrations to show consumers how to use our products and [allow them to] taste our product samples."

Chng sees this new venture as a logical extension of the company's business. Sin Hwa Dee currently exports its Chng Kee's sauces and premixes to some 30 countries worldwide.

"In Singapore, we plan to work with very strategic partners to set up Chng Kee's Spice of Life stores in the tourist belt. We are also exploring the possibility of working with supermarket chains. However, we do not want to restrict ourselves by setting a target number; we will study the partnership and location for each proposal," she said.

The company is open to exploring all locations as long as they put its brand in touch with end-users, said Chng. "It can be a mall, restaurant, butchery or fish market or store-in-store in a supermarket," she elaborated. "It need not be a big space - the concept can be adapted to a small corner shop of between 100sqf and 200sqf in area."

Although the set-up cost for its flagship 300sqf store on Sentosa is S$50,000 (US$29,615), Chng plans to keep the franchising fee affordable as the primary aim of launching Chng Kee's Spice of Life is to create brand awareness.

"The franchise fees will be kept minimal, basically just to pay for the set-up of the store and training," she said, adding that the store can be operated efficiently by just one person who can also conduct cooking demonstrations using the ready-to-cook sauces and premixes.

Chng was inspired to set up the lifestyle-concept store after witnessing the success of such stores in her travels abroad. "In Tokyo, Seoul and many other big cities, you can see speciality stores that sell only one product type such as miso, kimchi or soap," she said.

She believes that setting up a shop that sells Singapore sauces and spice mixes will help put the country's cuisine on the world map. "It is time the nation offers such a shopping experience to cater for consumers who want to prepare authentic [local] dishes but do not have the time or the know-how. [We aim to take] this Singapore brand of sauces and spices to every corner of the world."

 


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