NEWLY-REFURBISHED Gama Supermarket & Departmental Store Sdn Bhd in Penang is targeting to attract more customers with its new look.
Its senior general manager Ng Yee Mai said in an interview that the daily transactions, which are around 6,000 now, would grow as a result of the renovation.
Gama has spent about RM10mil on renovating all their six floors, including ground level, and adding 20,000sq ft (2,322sq m) of space.
This has increased the retail space to 150,000sq ft from 130,000sq ft.
“We have added new products such as baby necessities, branded apparel, sports footwear, swim-wear, and a new range of liquor brand names.
“For the convenience of our customers with babies, we have added a breast-feeding room and a diaper-changing room on the fourth floor.
“All the floors are equipped with a disabled-friendly toilet.
“We have also wheelchairs available at a customers’ service counter,” said Ng.
The renovation work, which started in February and was completed recently, is the first major renovation since 1996.
“The plan of the renovation was based on customers’ feedback, emphasising the need to upgrade our ambience and increase the range of new products.
“This is to ensure we are able to compete with the new shopping malls that have come up on the island,” she said.
The managing director’s personal assistant Anna Foo said a key competitive edge of Gama was that it sold only fresh meat.
“For example, our chicken is sourced from wet markets on a daily basis. We don’t sell chilled meat,” she added.
Foo said Gama also did not mark up the pricing of its popular items more than 10%.
“It is always within the range of 7% to 10% to maintain a small margin. It is a way of giving back to our customers,” she said.
She said the renovation did not alter the ambience very much.
“We try to keep the alterations affecting the display of our products to the minimum, to ensure that our customers can still find their way around the store.
“One of Gama’s attractions is that our customers can easily find what they are looking for without assistance.
“To continue to provide this ease of shopping, we make sure that the location and display of the items are not affected.
“To help with our customers’ needs, the lift has an attendant, which enhances the ease of shopping at Gama,” she said.
Gama divisional manager Alexius Liew said the company’s recogni-tion of old staff was one of Gama’s greatest strengths.
“Of our 200 employees, about 90% have served more than 10 years and we have pension benefits for them.
“We also retain about 30 old employees under contract.
“This is why the employees can be on a first-name basis with the customers,” he said.
Liew said Think City Sdn Bhd was working with Komtar, Prangin Mall, 1st Avenue, Penang Times Square, and Gama to study the possibility of linking them by either sky-bridges or pedestrian walkways.
Celebrating its 44th birthday this month, Gama was founded by Kedah-born entrepreneur Chang Cheng Guan.
It has its roots in Pulau Pinang Supermarket Sdn Bhd which was also established by Chang in 1967 at the Chowrasta Market.
On Dec 8, 1980, Gama opened its doors to the public at its present location on Jalan Datuk Keramat.