Forum: Traditional heartland businesses need more help to stay relevant

t is heartening to know that the authorities are taking steps to help heartland shops by studying feedback on ways to help these shops innovate and stay relevant (Heartland shops must keep up with new business trends: Desmond Lee, June 29).

I have observed that there are mainly three types of businesses operating in the heartland, namely the traditional businesses; the more modern businesses such as beauty services, mobile equipment retailers and bubble tea shops; and the professional businesses such as clinics, dentists and tuition centres.

More resources and help should be extended to traditional businesses like provision and sundry shops, hardware stores, Chinese medicine halls and barber shops which are mostly managed by the older generation.

Basic changes such as having air-conditioning in the shops and better lighting would go a long way in making the shops more attractive to customers and attract more business. Having price labels on goods would also help improve the shopping experience for customers.

Such small changes can work quickly to increase sales before long-term solutions kick in.

The authorities should also look into not letting more than three similar types of businesses operate near one another.

Harry Ong Heng Poh

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