Keeping trade within the family

Shumugavel and and his wife, Florance Nancy, 62, are usually at their store in Petaling Jaya by 4.30am.

SHUMUGAVEL Sethu, 64, and his son Elangovan have teamed up to keep their newspaper vending business within the family.

Elangovan, 43, recalls the time when his father was still a small sub-vendor trying to earn a living.

After years of working, they set up shop in Kelana Jaya before moving their operations to a store in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.

“When I was about 12, I would wake up very early to help my dad put together the supplements, so the newspapers would be ready for delivery as our house was the drop-off point back then.

“This was a way for me to earn some pocket money and also learn the business.”

At the age of 20, when many of his peers were still pondering what they wanted to do with their future, Elangovan decided to take over some of the responsibilities from his father to ensure the business would continue to run smoothly.

“We had to let go of a few workers, so I stepped in as I was familiar with the business, ” he said.

There is no doubt that the newspaper business is different now compared to when The Star was first published 50 years ago.

“There are some, including the younger generation, who still appreciate holding a newspaper in their hands.

“There is something special about reading the news while having your morning coffee.

“They know that what they read in the papers is reliable, unlike some news found in some random sites online, ” said Elangovan.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he remains steadfast and hopeful about the print business.

Thanks to their dedication, Shumugavel and Elangovan have cultivated a loyal customer base over the decades.

“Sometimes, when I don’t get the newspapers to my customers on time, instead of asking why their paper is late, they’ll ask if I’m okay.

“They are very understanding of the logistics involved in getting the newspaper delivered to their doorstep on time.

“Most of our customers have been with us for a long time.

“We have more than just a business relationship, they are like family friends, ” said Elangovan.

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