Uncertain future for old businesses in Joo Chiat

PHOTO: Uncertain future for old businesses in Joo Chiat

SINGAPORE - Businesses come and go, but there are some which will always be linked to Joo Chiat.

One is the 73-year-old Chin Mee Chin Confectionery on East Coast Road, which quashed rumours of an impending closure in March.

"It's business as usual for us," owner Madam Valerie Tan told The Straits Times then.

Another, Kway Guan Huat in Joo Chiat Road, has been selling popiah and kueh pie tee since 1938. Over time, it has adapted to remain relevant - selling cooked popiah ingredients instead of raw, for example, as people these days are too busy to cook.

Expatriates have also started patronising the store for popiah skins, according to co-owner Ms Zita Quek, 50, and using them in their own cuisines.

Her brother Quek Cheng Lye, 65, told The Sunday Times that his eldest son, a pharmacist, has indicated an interest in managing the family business. He added: "But I was initially worried that the legacy would not be passed on."

Added Ms Quek: "The reality is that such a dying trade, which requires long hours and a lot of hard work, is not glamorous to the next generation."

The feeling is shared by old businesses in the area, many of which face an uncertain future.

Mr Basman Johari, 73, who owns Changi Junk Store, said: "I will just keep going until the day I'm forced to sell my business."

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