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Sunshine Plaza

The process of finding the shop location is akin to choosing a life partner. That eye candy that was the sole highlight of the boring lectures may turn out to be just that, an eye candy. The seemingly dour bespectacled dork that you walked past countless times may be that one person that completes you. In short, choose the wrong one and you are screwed.

Well friends, Merely has taken the plunge and found in the one in Sunshine Plaza. Of the friends whom I have informed, most of them thought we are situated in Sembawang. That would be Sun Plaza while we are at Bencoolen Street, in close proximity to Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Laselle College of the Arts, Singapore Management University (SMU) and and School of the Arts( SOTA) or as I would like to call it, the Abbreviation land. Having a sizable catchment area of potential youth clientele present opportunities as well as it own sets of problems but that would be tackled in a post another day.

Truth to be told, we weren’t exactly keen on Sunshine Plaza initially. Perhaps spooked by the knowledge that the mall used to house an ice cream shop which didn’t exactly fare too well, LoST suggested we take our business elsewhere when I first broached the idea of Sunshine Plaza. Being a fan of Japanese manga and anime, I have fond memories of Sunshine Plaza as the strata mall was an enclave where like-minded fans would gather to discuss anything and everything about the Japanese sub-culture. The fact that it is a stone throw away from Sim Lim square, the Akihabara of Singapore, didn’t hurt its standing among the tech geeks either. I would make regular pilgrimage to Latendo to ogle and then ultimately started buying anime collectibles when the pay cheques that trickle in started to make a difference to my bank account. As the mall began its lease renewal process, F&B outlets were added to the tenant mix. And it was there I unearthed some culinary gems like the chicken pies and chocolate muffins at Oven Marvel, wanton mee at Parklane Wanton Mee and of course the dim sum fare at the now famous Victor’s Kitchen. Unfortunately another lease renewal process a couple of years later saw bulk of the anime collectible shops moving out and as a result I stopped frequently the mall.

Prospective shop, sandwiched between the two Thai stalls

Three years on, the tenant mix is now one that boasts more F&B options, and an array of printing shops that is no doubt, very a magnet for the nearby art schools students. It was in early November when I chanced upon a listing on commercialguru for a 480 square feet unit at Sunshine Plaza. Further correspondence with the property agent revealed that the unit is situated at a prime area of the mall, sandwiched between the two popular Thai eateries, Aroy Dee and Thai Gold Food, and directly opposite the NAFA. With our interests piqued, we made numerous trips down to the mall to observe the human traffic during the meal times, off peak hours, weekends, school holidays, rainy days, on days there was flooding ponding days sunshine etc, and went away cautiously optimistic about the crowd.  Putting my bargaining skills (honed by frequent trips to street markets in Hong Kong ) to good use, we managed to negotiate a monthly rental that is within our budget and a reasonable rent free period for us to finish our renovation. And we signed on the dotted line on 27 Dec 2011, with us officially taking over the shop on 1st February 2012.

Putting our wedding analogy to good use, we are now legally husband and wife and will move into our resale flat on 1st February. Whether we will copulate and have many wonderful children depends on your patronage. So come and support us when we open on doors in (hopefully) mid March!

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(PS: Sunshine Plaza is located just beside the Election Department. Hopefully we are still going strong come the next General Election!)

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