FOR Daniel Teng, opening the seventh Jaya Grocer outlet at The Intermark in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur marks a new era for the family-owned business that started out in 1942 with a sundry shop on Jalan Sentul run by his late grandfather Teng Sek How.
“Branching out into the central business district will be a challenge for us, but it is a starting point for the business to grow further in the upmarket retail sector,” said the 26-year-old who holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from MacQuarie University in Sydney, Australia.
Daniel, the eldest son of Teng Yew Huat, explained that the sundry shop business had expanded since its early days and this prompted the family to open a mini market called TMC in Lucky Garden, Bangsar. Out of that came the first Giant outlet in Kelana Jaya. This eventually led to the opening of the first Jaya Grocer at Jaya 33 in Petaling Jaya followed by other locations.
“I remember walking with my father in our store in Lucky Garden. He exposed me to keeping count of stock then.
“Upon graduation, I started out in merchandising for our store in Jaya 33 and slowly diversified into procurement,” said Daniel, who is now the operations director overseeing the operations of all Jaya Grocer outlets.
On why they chose The Intermark as the location for their latest outlet, Daniel explained that the location was strategic and it would definitely put the home-grown retailer on the map.
“Customer demographics was also one of the factors we considered before opening. There is good connectivity with the LRT station located within the vicinity plus the presence of the middle- and upper-income groups working and living in the area, which makes Intermark an ideal place to set up the business,” he said, adding that their target market comprises locals and expatriates living in Ampang.
As it is located at The Intermark, Daniel said the 30,000sq ft outlet, which is the largest Jaya Grocer in Klang Valley, is distinctively different from other locations in terms of layout and interior decor.
“We emphasised the decor and layout to reflect the contemporary style of an upmarket retail outlet, with the comfort and needs of consumers being our highes priority,” said Daniel.
Unlike the other Jaya Grocer locations, this outlet features spacious aisles wide enough for several customers to push their trolleys without bumping into each other. Shoppers are able to access sections of their choice with ease.
“The entrance of the outlet attempts to give one the feeling of a morning market, minus the fishy smell and slippery floor,” he said, adding that another plus about the outlet is its location at the lower concourse area, which is the same level as the carpark and adds to convenience.
Daniel said the plan is to have each stall in the supermarket manned by an attendant to interact with shoppers and help with their selection of goods.
The store features premium imported foodstuffs, organic produce and dining options, unlike more regular grocers. At the fruit section, shoppers will be greeted with the wide range of imported fruits like the Muscat of Alexandria grapes that come in a gift box priced at RM164. Available at only a few select grocery stores in Malaysia, the grapes are specially flown in from Japan.
“Out of the 30,000sq ft built up area, about 10,000sq ft has been dedicated for food and beverage outlets,” said Daniel, adding that the outlets include Jaya Grocer’s Fresco, which is the company’s effort in introducing a “groceraunt”, the combining of a grocer and a restaurant; Bonjour Garden bakery and cafe; Fuku Fuku and Menyat Musashi, and a non-halal food court with a seating capacity of 110 persons at one time.
Jaya Grocer oversees the day to day operations of the F&B outlets. Their monthly rent is based on their sales performance and 10% of the sales revenue goes to Jaya Grocer.
Daniel declined to reveal the investment incurred to open the outlet, but expects growth of 10% to 15% annually from the new outlet.
The company also expects growth of between 10% to 15% next year for the company as a whole.
Explaining about Fresco, Daniel said the concept is similar to that of the Fresco outlet at the Empire Subang mall in Subang Jaya.
“At Fresco, customers can send the items that they have bought from the seafood and meat sections to be cooked for free, provided that they order one side dish,” said Daniel.
In addition to that, the outlet also features a Cheese and Gourmet sections, which stocks a wide range of cheese.
Monthly cheese promotions will be offered and shoppers get to have a better understanding of the produce courtesy of friendly attendant behind the counter.
Free samplings of selected items are also available. Shoppers get to taste a variety of sardines from France and vintage sardines in special collectable cans with a life span of up to 10 years.
In the seafood section, Daniel said shoppers have a choice of ocean produce like octopus tentacles from Spain and fresh oysters from France.
To maintain the quality and freshness, he said local fishes like bawal and kerapu are brought in daily by a fish supplier in Kuala Selangor on consignment basis. Unsold produce will be collected by the supplier at the end of the day.
He said shoppers should also stop by at the Vom Fass section, where oils, vinegars, liqueurs, whisky, cognac and rum are available for sampling before purchase.
The wine section, which covers a built-up area of 650sq ft offers a wide selection of imported red and white wines from France, Chile, Italy, Australia and South Africa, among others.
Daniel said it would be introducing wine tasting sessions soon to allow shoppers to try out wines from the different regions.
“We have set up wine-pouring equipment in place and we will be introducing monthly wine promotions from different regions,” said Daniel, adding that a standard fee would be charged for sampling and upon purchasing a bottle, the fee will be refunded to shoppers.
To further reward its shoppers, Jaya Grocer is providing free parking for the first two hours with purchases above RM30.
On whether Jaya Grocer is positioning itself in a niche already occupied by Cold Storage, Daniel said its concept is entirely different, as it is more into lifestyles and F&B.
“Our goal is to open as many outlets as we can under the banner, taking quality into consideration.
“For now, we will move our business development at a comfortable pace,” he said, adding that they would probably feature some of the new products at the other outlets in the near future.
On whether there are plans to expand the business up north in the Peninsular or overseas, Daniel said although they have been approached by various parties, the company feels that it is not ready for it at the moment and would prefer to focus their expansion plans in the Klang Valley first.
The retailer opened another outlet at the Bangi Gateway Shopping Complex in Bangi in September.
The store has a built-up area of 20,000sq ft and offers a similar concept to the one in Empire Subang with a Fresco outlet for shopper’s dining convenience.