KLUANG: Loyal customers are helping to keep some decades-old small businesses open amid the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As many have been forced to shut down for good due to losses brought on by the pandemic and subsequent movement control order (MCO) imposed, some in Kluang are surviving due to local support.
Samsudeen Kadir, 58, the third generation in his family to run a cendol stall here which has been around for 70 years, said while he had lost customers from Singapore and other parts of Malaysia, he was able to remain in business as many local customers were still visiting his stall.
“All kinds of business operators are facing challenging times now.
“They not only remained closed during the MCO but lost customers due to travel restrictions, especially Singaporeans who used to flock here during weekends and public holidays.
“I am grateful that the people of Kluang, especially those who have been coming here since my father and grandfather’s time, still drop by, ” said Samsudeen, adding that his daily revenue allowed him to carry on running the stall.
For Wong Ca Fu, 52, who has a shop that sells and repairs watches and clocks in Kluang town, business is slowly picking up.
“It took a while after we reopened, for customers to come but things are looking better as the days go by.
“I waited a while to reopen my shop after being allowed to do so as I was unsure about the standard operating procedures (SOP) in place.
“I did not want to be penalised for flouting regulations.
“Now I know the SOP I have to adhere to, such as using face mask and practising social distancing, so I feel it is safer, both for me and my customers, ” he added.
“The closure did cause losses but now with the reopening, I think I can manage to get by.
“I have my regular customers and besides, when it comes to fixing watches, people still rely on those with skills and experience.
“This shop has been around since the 1960s and we have loyal customers who have trust in the services we offer, ” said Wong.
Among those receiving loyal customers again is the Kluang Rail Coffee, a kopitiam at the Kluang train station that is renowned for its coffee, teh-c, butter-and-kaya toast.
More visitors are visiting the premises now during the recovery phase.
Its owner, Lim Ben Winn, 32, said while they were slowly seeing an increase in new customers, the business was still heavily reliant on local customers.
“The majority are still Kluang folk who grew up frequenting this coffeeshop, ” he said.
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