They restore broken luggage for as low as $8

They restore broken luggage for as low as $8
Richard Lee, owner of luggage repair shop, Chiang Kong Services, can also help pick the locks of luggage bags for customers who lost their keys.

SINGAPORE - As a boy, Mr Richard Lee would buy coffee for his uncles, chit-chatting with them in the Aljunied shophouse where they ran a rubber and glue business.

But this changed sometime in the 1970s when an airline crew member walked into the shop, Chiang Kong Services.

The man had with him an old PVC luggage bag and wanted to know if Mr Lee's uncles could repair it.

Since they had a glue machine, the brothers decided to give it a shot and they fixed it.

From glue to bags

Thus began a new and wonderful line of work for the shop.

Word spread and soon, more air crew were having their luggage fixed at Chiang Kong, where prices start at $8 for simple repairs.

They mend torn bags, faulty wheels, handles, zippers and locks.

Although it looks easy, it is no mean feat, said Mr Lee, 42

"It's not like rojak where you just put in this and that. Repairing a piece of luggage requires the proper steps.

"My uncle once said to me, treat the luggage like a toy and once you know how to dismantle it, you'll know how to put it back together."

In 2006, he has taken over the business from his uncles, whose children were not interested in the business. He is now the sole owner of Chiang Kong.

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