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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Cool shop's hot concept

Gourmet popsicle store opens in Toa Payoh due to the location and customer demographics - a mix of HDB residents and office workers
The Straits Times - July 28, 2011
By: Jamie Ee
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Cool shop's hot concept ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

WHEN Ms Alpphenyl Ooi began her gourmet popsicle business six months ago, she decided to open her first store in the Toa Payoh heartland.

The location and customer demographics - a mix of Housing Board residents and office workers - was what won her over.

The 23-year-old, who runs the business with her partner, said: 'We didn't want to create something that was inaccessible. We feel that people of all ages can appreciate popsicles.'

And she has not regretted her choice.

Located between an optician's and a telecommunications store at Toa Payoh Central, Frostbite's refreshingly colourful shopfront has attracted many curious customers since it opened three months ago.

But one of the challenges has been getting people to be more adventurous.

Older customers, for example, are hesitant to give the new product a try.

'But after we recommend it to them and offer them some to try, they really like it,' said Ms Ooi.

Some changes also had to be made to the business to reflect the heartland location.

While flavours such as lavender chocolate and apple mojito did well in its other store in Suntec City, they had to be replaced by more familiar ones like pineapple-rambutan at the Toa Payoh outlet.

To cater to the local taste, the shop will also introduce a cendol flavour next month.

Heartland consumers are also more price-sensitive, said Ms Ooi. As a result, the popsicles are sold at $2.50 and $3.50. At its Suntec outlet, they are sold at $2.80 and $3.80.

Ms Ooi said the Toa Payoh store was an experiment to test the market. While there are plans to open more in the heartland, she said competition is keen and rent is high.

'The potential in the heartland is great. It is no longer what it was five, 10 years ago,' she said.

'People in the heartland are more educated, more open to ideas and more adventurous.

'I would say anybody with the passion and certainty should try to start a business there.'



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