Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scenes - Sarikei Ngiu Kee Department Store

Sarikei Ngiu Kee, 2007 (all pictures)

The old lady, Ngiu Kee department store, at Jalan Masjid Lama (Old Mosque Road) opened between 1980s-1992 (year?). It is located near the site of the former wooden mosque. If you park behind the department store, don't freak out because you can see the serene Malay graveyard with its traditional tombs.

The first supermarket was called Sarikei (Kuching owner) at the former Public Bank block at Jalan Masjid Lama at CNY 1983 but it closed after less than one year. When it first opened, department stores in this small town were still a novelty. Swee Hung was the other smaller department store. Many people window shopped for the air con comfort instead of buying something then.

The supermarket is situated on the ground floor. It brought in new varieties of goods including a better range of toiletries and dairy products like yoghurt. There's also a hard liqour section that's locked in a glass display. Excuse me, how much is that XO?

The first level is cluttered with the men's section, women's apparels and kids' stuff. I know, I know, you don't like those bored salespeople watching you at every aisle you browse in. Well, this is typical of a small town - the salespeople are there to watch you rather than service you.

You have to give credit to Ngiu Kee for bringing in a bigger range of apparels. For example, it carried a small Ralph Lauren range at one stage but it was ahead of its time because not many people wanted to fork out that amount on a polo shirt or cologne. It also commercialised festive dates beyond the local festivals with dates like Valentine's Day. When you are in puppy love, you will buy anything, right? Right.

The third level has a mish mash of stationery, festive stuffs like lanterns and ang pow, toys, bedsheets, tools, electrical appliances, etc.

The latest department store entrant, Nam Leong, has set the bar higher with attractive displays and wide aisles. Will Ngiu Kee aim to leap over that bar?

Maybe you don't really care because the shopper in you still prefers the laid back and friendly towkays in the traditional shops who ask you whether you have eaten yet.

NGIU KEE - The oldest Retail Chain in Malaysia. 马来西亚最古老的零售连锁店

Ngiu Kee was established in 1953 in Sibu to target the mass middle income group. It was incorporated in Malaysia on 26 Mar 1996 as Ngiu Kee Corporation (M) Sdn. Bhd. In preparation for its listing on the Second Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad, it was converted into a public limited company on 23 May 1996 and assumed the name Ngiu Kee Corporation (M) Berhad ( NKC ) Group.

It is an investment holding company with subsidiary companies operating supermarkets and departmental stores in Kuching, Bau, Sibu, Sarikei, Mukah, Bintulu, Limbang, Lawas and KK. It became a household name in Sarawak for at least 3 generations. It opened in Sarikei in 1990 and BB (Bangga Budi) replaced it in Jan 2014. Thanks for the air con retail therapy and memories.


sarikeikia said...

Please reconfirm the year of opening, I think it was very close to 1983 CNY.

jingpengboy said...

when i was born(1985), there was no ngiu kee in sarikei yet. ngiu kee, the 2nd oldest supermarket in sarikei needs a facelit to attract customers and also in order to compete with the brand new nam leong from Miri.

Like other towns of sararwak, Sarikei has lots of supermarkets.

Daniel Yiek said...

The new shops at Jalan Masjid Lama were opened in stages.

The Sugar Bun block after Ngiu Kee was opened in 1992.

Can any younger reader pin down the year of Ngiu Kee's opening? It was a big deal then because everyone was going there to window shop for CNY goodies.

wenn said...

hi..that's a nice place to shop..

sarikeikia said...

If I am not mistaken the 1st such supermarket was not Ngiu Kee started very close to 1983 CNY, the location was the same. Not long after that the supermarket manager started his own using Cathay cinema and on a faithful night the supermarket at Cathay was burned to the ground.

Ngiu Kee started in Sibu which was very close to the old wet market. In the late 70s early 80s shopping at Ngiu Kee was consider one of the coolest thing to do when visiting Sibu beside eating at Sugar Bun.

The 1st Supermarket at Jalan Masjid Lama was folded up and Ngiu Kee restarted all over. This could be the missing link.

Daniel Yiek said...

Katrina (name?) was the supermart at the old Cathay cinema building in early 1980s (?).

Sarawakiana@2 said...

It is nice to read about our old favourite Ngui kee again.

I know the family very well..the old towkay Mr. Wong has always been an upright humble and honest good businessman. His and his wife were loving and good to each other...model couple. They have good children too.

These old values are disappearing.

Daniel Yiek said...


Found the answer:

The first supermarket was called Sarikei (Kuching owner) at the Wawasan block at Jalan Masjid Lama at CNY 1983 but it closed after less than one year.

Daniel Yiek said...

History of Ngiu Kee written by Chang Yi in Borneo Post.

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