Thursday, April 12, 2007

# Yassar Halim

When we was having a stroll along Green Lanes, we passed by the groceries shop that we buy our foodstuff from - Yassar Halim. It sells normal groceries such as vegetables, meat, fruits, and it has its own bakery which makes a variety of cakes, breads and Turkish delicacies. I enjoy shopping there for its large diverse variety of vegetables available at cheap price, its fast and efficient service, as well as for the yummy cakes which I like to have as dessert. ^_^

The picture below shows the shop - the green one is where they sell their groceries, the white one is their bakery. Notice the extra bit of white shop on the right side? That's their extension of bakery.Yassar Halim

When we saw a newspaper cutting stuck to the front window of the shop...

We exclaimed a big "WOW"!!!

Yassar Halim, the very place we get our groceries, is considered as one of the "100 Shops to Visity Before You Die"!!! It ranked along with shops like NikeTown, HMV and Selfridges in Oxford Street, Apple store in Regent Street, etc... Boy, were we proud!

I like the idea of Evening Standard campaigning for small shops, against the giant supermarket chains which always kill all the local business with their megamarkets and unfair price wars. An obvious example would be Tesco, who has not only infiltrated most markets in UK, but expanding overseas into Asian markets. In my own small hometown Sungai Petani, the arrival of Tesco practically killed many of the small groceries stores - they simply couldn't compete with the low-price goods and large-variety-store of Tesco. It is quite sad actually, especially many of the storekeepers are either our friends or relatives.

I don't despise mega stores or chains, but it is some unfair competition to put small shops with giant stores side by side to compete. Well, free market allows the survival of the fittest, but it ignores the softer side of the society - the local culture, the community, the tradition.

For developing urban area with expanding population, it may be all right to put in new mega stores to cater to the growing population demand for a variety of goods and services. But for small towns with dwindling population and small local community, putting a mega store would just saturate the market and squeeze out all the small competitors. Free market competition argument is just not right here, due to the different market setting and sizes.

On the softer side, I personally think that local culture and tradition is important to preserve the local identity of the community. It is those small shops that we always have closer bonds with - we know the owners well, and we chit chat about our lives and take care of one another within the neighbourhood. Doing daily groceries is some enjoyment, having the chance to communicate with our neighbours and friends. In big mega chain stores, such kind of interaction is far less, the services might be more efficient and fast, but do we actually know, and care about those army of workers in the store? Or rather, we just hastily do our weekly shopping and speed off to cater to our much-more-important-things-to-do?

... Perhaps, my thinking has been more old-fashioned.
... Perhaps this is just the thinking of a small-town girl, who has yet to embraced the big-city mindset of not bothering about any other people, but solely minding your own business. But sometimes I do wonder, how do city people feel happy in such kind of environment?


khengsiong said...

Being a shutterbug, I often browse online forums for photographers. In one occasion, a forum member living in the States asked if he could open a camera store. The responses he got were mostly negative - he could not compete with mega stores or online retailers.

For those who wish to be their own bosses, perhaps the next best option is franchising.

Mega stores do have one plus point - the staffs are generally less 'pushy'.

Z.J. said...


在现在很多地方, 那些小形的商店都差不多被自由购物市场所代替. 这样的发展或者改变,并不代表小形的商店要退出,它们可以改变其銷售方式.

有竞争及变化才有进步, 你不认为是吗?

The Moody Minstrel said...

Bravo, YD! Bravo!

I don't think your thinking is too "old-fashioned" or "small-town girl". You're just showing that you're a human being with sense, heart, and soul. Real life is always better than plastic, I say, and that's what you get in small, local shops like this one. (Though, like you, I don't hate the big supermarkets. I just wish they would stop trying to build so damned many of them in every available corner! Places like that are where you should make a trip to on a weekend, or something of the sort!)

YD said...

To reap the economies of scale and operational efficiency, large companies do most of the time outperform small ones. Franchising is a a global approach of doing business, which is very suitable for today's world. So I agree with you that franchising is a new way forward.

For high-end products which need the specialized skills, (electronics, hi-tech stuffs), I do welcome large firms who have larger funding and better R&D team to come out with high quality yet cheap stuffs.

However, for things like vegetables and foodstuffs, using giant corporation to fight with little farmers/ retailers do not impress me. This is especially hurting those developing countries which do not have high technology/economy power but only rely on agricultural productions as means of living.

Thanks. I believe in survival of the fittest too. However, lately there has been too many case of totally unfair competition, where giants supermarkets decided to open not only one, but three or more chain stores within one area. Little stores can improve themselves and compete if there are different markets and different products.

However, with the large army marching in which decide to sell everything under the sun, we can't deny that there is some element of playing on unfair grounds. The regulators are deciding whether there is a breach of unfair competition, let's see how it goes.

You said it very well! Just don't infiltrate every single corner! Yup, I do buy things from mega stores, and I do appreciate the cheap and quality products achieved by economies of scale, but hey, give the lil' ones some space to breath, will ya?

Thanks for your insight!

Happysurfer said...

KL is bustling with hypermarkets too. There's Giant, Carrefour, Tesco, Jaya Jusco (Aeon) and Makro. Looks like every housing estate is near to one such and they are killing off the small-timers. A disease of the times. Call it progress, I suppose.

Pandabonium said...

Nice post YD. Those big corporation have legal and tax advantages and usually are exploiting underpaid labor somewhere along the chain. We should all try (just my opinion) to buy locally as much as possible.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I really dislike those mega supermarkets, especially two recent developments in Geelong. I. They close a library for six months to add a Gaudi (or something) supermarket. 2. They put a bridge across Yarra Street blocking off the view of the sea, just to supersize the current supermarket. Westfield is so so so rich and driven by the greed ofshareholders and overpaid board members I believe. Meanwhile they make 'my' fish-shop move somewhere else! I prefer to shop at family-owned businesses - e.g. a local green grocers. Best of all I like the real fruit and vegie market such as Footscray in Melbourne.
Our food costs will skyrocket if we don't get rain because the PM is saying there will be no water for irrigation of the Murray Darking river areas where most of our food is grown.