67-year-old kopitiam forced to close down due to escalating rental

28 Feb 2017 / 19:18 H.

GEORGE TOWN: A 67-year-old coffee shop in Lebuh Pantai here is closing its doors after the owner of the building said he wants the place back.
Chin Kim Ching, 53, the second generation operator of Wah Keong Coffee Shop, said eviction notices were received in March and November last year.
Speaking on behalf of her husband, Teoh Keng Wah, 56, she said they were given until Chinese New Year this year to vacate the premises.
She said they did not have any other choice but to adhere to the notice and felt she could not afford an expected increase in rental even if they stayed.
She said some of the the operators of shops around hers were paying rents as high as RM3,000 a month, which is more than four times her current rent of RM750. 
"I am reluctant to leave but we expect rental rates to increase, it is a waste but what can we do," she said when met at the shop today as both were there to clear and clean the place for the last time.
Chin said she and her husband will now search for other premises so they can continue their business.
She admitted it was tough to search for a location within their budget of about RM1,500 in George Town due to rising rents.
She said her family depended on operating a coffee shop to put food on the table and so will search for work in the meanwhile.
"I hope to find a place soon," she added.
Earlier, State Gerakan Youth Assistant Secretary Loh Kit Mun expressed his sadness over the closure of a coffee shop within the heritage zone.
"I hope more people will be aware of the plight of traditional coffee shops like these," he said, adding he will be assisting Chin and Teoh to find a new place.


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