Shutters for 54-year-old provision shop

Shutters for 54-year-old provision shop
Tian Kee's shopfront. The blue sign bearing its name will be taken down and sold to a heritage buff.

SINGAPORE - For the past 54 years, Tian Kee provision shop at Block 12 Dakota Crescent has been a constant presence in the neighbourhood.

Kids bought tidbits, thirsty joggers stopped for cold drinks and residents purchased essentials such as oil and bread.

But like many other traditional provision shops, Tian Kee, one of the oldest of its kind in Singapore, has shut its doors.

"I'm old and it is time to retire," said 84-year-old shop owner Lim Tian Han, who wound up his business this week.

"It's time to take a step back and enjoy life."

Business at the provision shop, where huge biscuit tins and rusty shelves of essentials adorned the storefront, fell after a supermarket opened across the street "a few years ago", said Mr Lim, who ran the business with his 76-year-old wife.

Rising rents and fewer residents in Dakota, a quiet neighbourhood of mostly rental flats opposite the Old Airport Road hawker centre, also made it hard to cope.

"Supermarkets have so much to offer, and we have only a limited amount of goods, we simply can't compete," he said.

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