Mei Chin Market was a popular market that drew crowds during its heydays in 1970s and 1980s. Before the market was constructed, many of the hawkers would install makeshift markets along Mei Ling Street next to the Long Hwee Book Store (It's a Multi-Storey Car Park now). As more and more younger generations moved out of Queenstown and the closure of Mei Chin Secondary and Primary Schools, the market now entertain older residents with a considerable lower purchasing power. Today, MyQueenstown went to the market to understand why there are comparatively smaller crowds in this market than other markets in Queenstown.
Zero crowd in 2 hours
MyQueenstown stationed our team in a few locations and noticed the number of customers patronising the shop houses and the market in the morning and in the evening. To our horror, during the "prime time" for housewives visiting wet markets between 9-12am on a Saturday morning, there's only a paltry 8 customers. At another "prime time" between 4-7pm on a Friday afternoon, there is only 3 customers visiting a drug store! What happened?
We asked one of the shop keepers, Mr Nuo, a familiar figure mending Thong Hoe Medical Store and he replied that business has been weak for the past few years. Many of the shop keepers have reflected that to the Business Association and the relevant authorities. He said, "It seems like the authorities want to do us in and leave us in lurch! Something must be done to stem the trend."
Another shop keeper who declined to be named has lamented the lack of interest in the shops in Mei Chin, "I am pretty worried by future developments in the Queenstown Central. Will all our customers go there and not here anymore?"
Mdm Kang, of CD Beauty Saloon said, "All the businesses here are our regular customers. When the population becomes older and more elderly folks passed on, we have to think of other ways how to survive."
There are several suggestions to spruce up the businesses in Mei Chin market such as the opening of a supermarket or a fast food restaurant to entice the younger crowd from the nearby MDIS and Global Indian school into the area. However, shop keepers remain skeptical, "All these suggestions will be taken with a pinch of salt. If they want to help, they would have render their assistance long ago."
MyQueenstown feels sorry for the plight of these shop keepers in Mei Chin/Mei Ling market area. Although some residents may disagree at the need to render help to the residents because of their belief in market forces, several ways to streamline businesses in the area ought to be on the way. There are simply too many saloons (6 of them) in the area! Is there a possibility of merging them together? Furthermore, the lack of variety in the market, as pointed out by Mr Nuo, is one of the many reasons why many residents shun the market. Is there a possibility of a better coordination?
The market closes as early as 4pm because there's no crowd