Twenty five years ago when I was looking for a landed house to live in, my wife and I decided that it should be near an HDB town. We eventually settled on a semi-detached house off Yio Chu Kang Road, next to Ang Mo Kio. We never regretted that decision.
Living next door to an HDB town offers many advantages: market, shops, cinemas, schools, public transport hub, CC etc are all conveniently nearby.
This is how we plan HDB towns. They all come with a full range of shops and facilities for the convenience of the residents. These facilities are an integral part of HDB living, injecting vibrancy into our housing estates.
How are the shops doing?
Every year, HDB surveys the shopkeepers to see how they are faring, through its Business Expectations Survey. The latest survey offers some interesting findings.
- First, their clientele varies in size, with eating establishments topping the chart in terms of daily patronage.
- Second, their perception of future business prospects also varies, reflecting the different degree of competition within each business sector.
- There is also a difference in business prospects for shopkeepers operating in the mature towns as compared to those in newer towns.
- But overall, HDB shopkeepers are largely very positive about their businesses. When asked if they intend to continue their businesses over the next five years, eight in 10 say “Yes”. According to the HDB, this is the highest rating they have seen since the 2007 survey.
Shopkeepers are businessmen. They know what to do to continue to enjoy good business. One strategy is to be proactive in reaching out to customers. They have to be creative and flexible in their business models, and offer new and innovative products and services.
In HDB heartlands, they can also take advantage of HDB’s various assistance schemes, such as on-site retail skills training and the Revitalisation of Shops Scheme.
Next week, HDB and the Federation of Merchants’ Association, Singapore will be co-organising the fourth annual Retail Seminar. I encourage shopkeepers to attend to exchange ideas and pick up tips on how to remain relevant and stay competitive.
May their businesses continue to flourish and in so doing, enrich the lives of the residents living there (and nearby).
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