The Thai wood shop, operated by the ever-friendly Gordon Chan, has had to hit the trail again, less than 6 months since relocating from a street front location at Sai Kung Town Centre to a nearby smaller back alley unit due to soaring rent – see previous BUZZ story.
This time, the move is due to the fact that the clothing shop, from which Gordon was subleasing his small shop space, has decided to close down and the landlord then decided to renovate the whole premises at the same time. Gordon once again found himself looking for an alternative shop space.
Luck was shining on Gordon – it so happened that an estate agency located opposite Sai Kung’s McDonald’s was closing down. The shop unit is close by, has a street front position and also bigger premises. Gordon made a swift decision to lease that space and started moving in at the beginning of July. He has customers there already, he happily confided.
Gordon told BUZZ, “I didn’t know where I’d go two months ago. I was looking. It was just pure coincidence that this came up. I thought I’d have to wait for a similar shop space that I thought would come up in the near future”.
At one time, thinking of winding down and clearing off his entire inventory gradually, Gordon has found that his old customers are looking for him, and people are still looking for his type of solid wood furniture and products. To cater to demand, he has arranged for a fresh container load of products to be shipped in, acknowledging that he needs more products in his now bigger shop premises.
“My products are all made in Thailand, you can only get big solid wood furniture like these made in Thailand”, he said.
Gordon takes pleasure in being able to satisfy customers who are looking for tastefully designed solid wood furniture – he says the most common comment he gets is ‘I didn’t know you have this’. Positive feedback from customers gives Gordon great pleasure and satisfaction. He said a client once thanked him profusely for helping to make a custom made cabinet strong enough to house a 500 lbs. safe when nowhere else could provide this; Gordon thought shouldn’t he be the grateful one for being given the business.
He admits that income is of course paramount to sustain a business but admits also that being able to fulfil a customer’s desires gives him great pleasure. He said it made him feel so good when a satisfied customer sent him pictures of a piece of furniture the customer purchased with the remark ‘This is gorgeous!’.
Always mindful of the need to balance his books, Gordon tries to keep all his expenses as low as possible. He renovated and painted his new shop himself, bit by bit. He designs his products himself, eliminating additional designer’s cost. He says he only needs to hire help when moving large pieces of furniture or for other manual work. Being someone who likes to keep busy, Gordon plans to carry on with his business for the next two years at least while he is still physically fit, unless there is a sudden major market crash.
He continues, “I have to climb up and down to put up all the pictures etc.; it’s difficult to get help. One’s physical condition would deteriorate gradually; in two years time I’d be two years older, I may not be able to do so much climbing up and down then”.
Gordon has a regular clientèle base but he hopes that his now more visible and accessible shop location will offer opportunities to attract new customers as they wander past the thoroughfare.
He acknowledges that his new shop location does not allow many products to be placed outside his shop front, and he cannot work on his furniture pieces there either, like he did before. The shop size also puts a limit on the range and size of products that he can display. However, Gordon says he just explains to prospective new customers that he specializes in custom-made order and he shows them pictures of all the products that he has made for his clients.
Looking for solid wood furniture at prices that are not excessive? You will find Gordon at his new Thai Wood shop opposite McDonald’s, always happy and ready for a chat and to help.