'The memories are forever': Tiong Bahru provision store established in 1938 bids customers goodbye, but you can still visit it virtually

PHOTO: Instagram/pinpinpiaukay

Tiong Bahru residents are probably familiar with Pin Pin Piau Kay & Co, an old-school provision store that sits at the heart of the rustic neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, those who frequent the shop will soon have to bid it goodbye as the owners have recently revealed that their last day of operations will be on Sunday (Nov 7).

Just yesterday (Oct 31), Facebook community group Tiong Bahru Estate uploaded an image of a banner outside Pin Pin Piau Kay & Co announcing its closure. 

"The memories are forever. Thank you, Tiong Bahru," it read. 

6th November 2021: GOOD NEWS! The new owner of our beloved provision shop has generously and gracious allow Rodney to...

Posted by Tiong Bahru Estate on Friday, October 29, 2021

However, fans of the provision store need not get too teary-eyed yet as the owners did hint that they "will be back" — they just don't know when. 

Fortunately you can still pay them a visit via this three-dimensional virtual tour shared by Facebook user Alvin Yeo. 

While you can't purchase anything from this virtual shop, it is a nice way of immortalising Pin Pin Piau Kay & Co.

Decades of rich history

While the banner says that the humble provision store has been around for 54 years, third-generation owner Rodney Goh revealed in a video interview with Straits Times that it has been operating since 1938, or for 83 years.

Rodney outside his store. PHOTO: Instagram/pinpinpiaukay

The shop was started by his grandfather, who came to Singapore from China. Rodney took over the reins from his father around 37 years ago and has been running the business ever since.

What makes Pin Pin Piau Kay & Co stand out from other provision stores is its vast range of products that are catered not only to the local residents, but expatriates too.

For European expatriates, Rodney makes sure that the store is stocked with specialty goods such as quinoa and figaro olives.

He also brings in pho and rice paper for his Vietnamese customers and dipping sauces such as Bagoong Alamang for the Filipinos.

"The expatriate community, they come and ask for certain products. So we try to source for them and then they'll come and patronise [us]," Rodney had shared in the 2016 interview.

Rodney and a friend who hails from England. PHOTO: Instagram/pinpinpiaukay

"The customers are the one that keep our business growing. Without them, we would be in trouble," he added.

Pin Pin Piau Kay & Co heydy was in the 1980s and 1990s, and over the years, business has slowed down — so much that Rodney eventually decided to convert a part of the store into a music studio for his son.

"You need the passion. One day when I wake up and I don't want to work anymore, [I'll] know it's time to stop." 

Address: 71 Seng Poh Rd, #01-33, Singapore 160071

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