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‘I am not giving up’: Thambi Magazine Store owner seeking new Holland Village site after closure



SINGAPORE – Mr Periathambi Senthil Murugan, better known as Sam, was a marine engineering student in the 1990s when circumstances led him to take over the family-run Thambi Magazine Store.

He has since become the backbone of the business, which will see its last day of operation at Holland Road Shopping Centre on May 5.

The 49-year-old Singaporean, who is the elder of two siblings, initially resisted the idea of joining the family trade. “Before all that, when I was younger, I wanted to run away… from my father’s business and live a life of my own somewhere else,” Sam shared with The Straits Times.

Despite his initial reluctance, he eventually embraced the role of running the store and found himself passionate about it soon after. “It is very sad for me that I have to close the store after all this while,” he lamented.

The eight-decade-old family business began as a newspaper distribution service started by his late grandfather, Mr P. Govindasamy, in the 1940s. Sam made significant changes to the business after taking over from his father in the 1990s.

One notable move was displaying magazines openly on shelves along the walkway outside the store, inviting passers-by to browse.

“I believe that letting people touch, open and browse the copies would allow interest to form and encourage potential customers to make purchases,” he explained.

Plans to revamp the area influenced his decision to close shop, with requests being made to remove the outdoor shelves and confine business activities to the interior of the shop the main impetus.

Sam declined to say who will put those plans into action but said it is “not the government bodies”.

“Nobody comes into the store to make purchases. They usually only walk past the walkway and see what’s on the shelf before deciding to buy,” he said.

“Revamping the area will remove heritage elements of Holland Village that I am trying to preserve by running my store here. Most parts of this area have already been modernised. This store is one of the few pieces of heritage left here,” he added.

The three-storey Holland Road Shopping Centre opened in the 1970s and houses a variety of shops, from pharmacies to beauty salons.

The magazine shop has been a fixture in Holland Village, an area that has seen significant modernisation over the years.

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