Baking Supplies Shop In A Penang Heritage Building
What tends to give a city its character and sense of community is its rich history.
Located on Carnarvon Street, Penang is a heritage building that has been around since the late 1800s. Once a bookstore and electronics store, even longer ago, the abandoned store had a charm that can only come from a structure. Ancient.
In love with its history and its central location in Georgetown, the Sim Company team decided to rehabilitate it to expand its bakery products store.
Sim was started by Chew Sim Chuan and the late Khoo Eng Chong in 1938. It is now run by Chew Chye Hin and Jerry Tan, who are the 2nd and 3rd generations of the family respectively.
As the inventory grew, the store needed more space to display its confectionery and provide customers with a better shopping experience. Thus, the aforementioned building was a great opportunity.
Instead of demolishing and flipping the space however, the two decided to preserve its architecture and design. It was their way of protecting the history of Carnarvon Street in its heyday.
Normal wear and tear is expected due to environmental resistance and daily use of old structures. To rehabilitate it, the team was supported by a mountain of renovation work.
In addition, they had to make sure that the old store was safe for their staff and customers. The main cost component came from the repair of its flooring, roofs and the main beam that supported its structure.
In addition, most of the cooking ingredients should be kept in a cool atmosphere to maintain their quality. Thus, the air conditioners and corresponding vents had to be installed.
Their plans were further delayed when the 2020 MCO arrived. Late deliveries of materials and SOPs imposed on construction workers caused significant delays.
“Basically everything was a mess. It took us over a year to do it all, ”said Chye Hin and Jerry.
In total, the team spent almost a 5-figure sum to make the bakery store look like it does today.
A nostalgic decor
Rehabilitating old buildings not only adds character to the area, but can also help attract businesses. Due to Sim’s sentimental appearance, it works as a charming backdrop to photos taken by tourists and local residents.
Curious, some entered the store to find out what the building was hiding inside while the simple signage of the “SIM” store revealed little. Behind its glass doors, visitors are then greeted with shelves of cooking equipment and baskets storing basic ingredients.
I tend to feel some joy inside baked goods stores thanks to the aromas of the sweet baked goods, the colorful array of sprinkles and their fresh air. Even though I hadn’t planned on buying anything, the mood is usually enough to convince me to buy an item or two.
Chye Hin and Jerry told Vulcan Post that this also tended to be the behavior of those who walked into their store. After wandering around and taking pictures, they ended up going out with a few goods themselves.
They shared that it helped increase the store’s revenue, a strategy untapped in their previous store (which is now used as Sim’s storage unit).
Although a portion of Sim’s business relies on foot traffic, being a one-stop-shop for Georgetown bakers has helped them throughout MCO.
“For MCO 2.0, we will do our best to learn about our customers’ purchasing model and provide deliveries to those who prefer not to leave their homes,” they said.
Therefore, the team is making a short-term goal of going digital, as customers can only place orders through Facebook or by calling the store at this time.
In the long term, Chye Hin and Jerry hope to expand Sim to more locations in Malaysia.
- You can read more about Sim Company here.
- Here’s another company that has remodeled an old heritage building for their business.
Featured Image Credit: Sim Company
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