Home > Locations > Scouting Report (Tiong Bahru)

Scouting Report (Tiong Bahru)

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

A friend suggested that we should incorporate more photos in our posts as readers, more often than not, prefer seeing pictures than reading a lengthy writeup. If you belong to the former camp, you are in luck as there is a slideshow in this post! Don’t worry though, we won’t be posting self taken camwhoring pictures of three guys on the wrong side of our 20s sticking their tongues out.

After wrapping up a scheduled short trip back to the office on a Saturday morning in which I started work at 6:45am through a combination of malfunctioning alarm clock and overestimation of SMRT’s inefficiency, I headed to Eng Hoon Street at Tiong Bahru estate to check out a potential rental opportunity in which we came across at commercialguru. The Chief Craftsman and myself came down on a weekday night previously and we left with a cautiously optimistic view on the location due to the presence of some popular eateries like Tin Heng and Sin Hoi San that draw in the dinner crowd even on a weekday night

Planning my route using google maps prior to leaving the office, I alighted at Outram MRT station and embarked on a 10 minutes slow walk to the site. The shop is situated a short distance from Singapore General Hospital, which is reassuring if I enjoy a klutz like moment in the kitchen like chopping off a finger or scalding my hands, help is just a few minutes away.

A major sticking point that came out of our previous scouting trip was that the shop unit was situated opposite a budget hotel chain. Call us biased but its hard to shake off the sleazy image whenever that particular budget hotel name pops up. However Chief Craftsman, with his amazing googling skills, managed to allay those fears when he managed to glean this off the search engine;

” I went this lunchtime with a PRC (vendor’s agent i.e. with visitor pass) to Hotel 81 Osaka (Tiong Bahru), thinking it is new and not a sleazy location. They asked if my partner is local and refused to register us because she is PRC. It does not allow PRC at all, even with work permit apparently!

Bro, it is not just PRC but any girl. Hotel 81 Osaka requires all parties to register with NRIC or passport. They were quite apologetic and explained that this is the only Hotel 81 with this requirement because when the hotel was built, there was a lot of objections from the local residents. “

The unit that we are eyeing is a retrofitted shophouse from a residential unit that comes with two rooms and an open kitchen. Among it neighbours is a row of small offices that appear to be occupied by companies in the creative industry, a Cheers convenience store and of course that budget hotel chain. Unlike its more popular cousin at Yong Siak Street, which boast the holy trinity of Fortyhands, BooksActually and Strangelets as its tenants, or the other part of Eng Hoon street which is home to the recently opened arts cafe The Orange Thimble, this stretch of Eng Hoon street appears deserted sans some tourists (I hope) that pop in and out of the budget hotel chain. Perhaps the absence of crowd is down to the lack of F&B options?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With every step I pound on the streets of the Tiong Bahru estate, it increasingly dawned on me on how quaint the neighbourhood is as compared to the rest of Singapore. As Chief Craftsman quipped on our first scouting trip, this place seems like a laid back holiday chalet rather than a HDB estate, which probably explains why the yuppies and expats community are making a beeline to settle at Tiong Bahru estate. On the surface, the presence of the well heeled residents appear to be an opportunity for our business, it could turn out to be a double edged sword as much resources and effort have to be put into renovation and creating the kind of ambiance that may attract this segment of the market.

I concluded the scouting mission with a trip to The Orange Thimble. As I settled down at a quiet corner of the shop with a cup of mocha and a slice of hazelnut pie, I begin to compile a list of the pros and cons of setting up a shop here.  For 4000 dollars, we can get a relatively large unit of 700 square feet which will not compromise on our kitchen space in order to squeeze in more seating area. Being a stone throw away from the popular Tiong Bahru market, there is a sizable potential crowd for us to tap into. The lack of an established ice cream player, unlike the congested Katong / East Coast or the Upper Thomson Stretch, plays into our favour too. Plus the estate is fast becoming the IT place for yuppies, this place indeed has the potential. However that doesn’t hide the fact that the shop unit is situated at a quiet corner of Tiong Bahru estate. Substantial outlay is also required for doing up the shop unit and while we have confidence in the quality of our ice cream, perhaps the process of adding the frills may need more time and experience to get it right.

Tiong Bahru estate, I think I have fallen for you. More as a resident, less as a retailer.

Categories: Locations Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: