Popular cafe Penny University says goodbye to East Coast after 10 years

PHOTO: Instagram/Pennyuniversity

Moving out of a place you've called home for years is a heart-wrenching affair and the folks behind Penny University can definitely relate. 

The cafe will be moving out of their iconic East Coast shop lot after 10 years, it shared on Instagram yesterday (Oct 3). Thankfully, they aren't closing for good and are instead relocating to a new spot at 17 Jalan Klapa. 

According to the cafe, the move was due to several reasons, including rent, and the need for a bigger space. 

Its last day of operations at its old location, 402 East Coast Road, will be on Oct 9. It has not yet revealed the opening date for its new location.

Going by the emotional Instagram posts by founder Mouss Kamal, the move hasn't been easy on Penny University. 

In one post, Mouss apologised for the length of his musings and lightheartedly said that he will "only do this once in 10 years". 

While a whole decade may seem like a long time to many, he shared that to the people at Penny University, it feels like not much time has passed. 

"Somehow to us it feels like just recently that we first took over this premise from a restaurant, daunted by its size, inherited a full kitchen, not having any experience in F&B and testing out a whole new market," he wrote. 

Fondly reminiscing how they started out as a "simple coffee bar" with just a few loose tables and a couple of booth seats, Mouss shared how the establishment was so bare that some customers even brought their own chairs. 

Thankfully, the "warm, supportive and forgiving" East Coast community came to their rescue by giving them furniture and other knick-knacks to make the space feel more like home. 

"Maybe it was the sorry they felt for our spartan decor as people started donating furnishings to us... antique chairs, tables, lamps, vintage tin cans, flowers, engraved wooden coffee menu board, flag (still hanging outside Penny), plants, and even a bicycle!" 

From customers to close friends 

Mouss also expressed how grateful Penny University was for their customers, with whom they've developed close relationships.

"It's touching that quite often, we are the first and last interaction for customers outside their home when they leave for work and return home. It's something that we personally cherish a lot," he shared, adding that many customers have gone from being regulars to friends and then to close friends. 

Penny University's location also holds special significance to Mouss because almost his entire childhood was centred around the Marine Parade and Telok Kurau area. 

"I could think of nowhere else I'd love to run a coffeehouse and connect to the neighbourhood I grew up in," he wrote.

Unsurprisingly, many loyal fans flocked to the comments section to wish Penny University all the best. 

Some shared the memories they had with the cafe while others called them the original coffee place in the east. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Instagram/Pennyuniversity 

One woman even shared that Penny University was where she first tried coffee, adding that "the east will never feel the same" without them. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Instagram/Pennyuniversity 

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melissateo@asiaone.com