Thursday, July 1, 2010
A New Beginning
For those of you who have not been following the saga of my run-in/stand-off with my ex-landlord, let me explain: I first started my dessert stall at a corner stall - no.141 - about seven years ago but moved to stall no. 139 four years later after a dispute with my ex-landlord. The hawker centre had inked a deal with a private gas supplier and it had to close the centre for two weeks to lay gas pipes. The gas supplier gave a sum of money to each stall operator to compensate for loss of business for two weeks. However, my landlord refused to hand over the compensation money to me, insisting that it was meant for him, the stallholder, and not for me, the stall operator and even accused me of trying to cheat him of the money. He also told me that if I didn't like his decision, I could end my lease and leave. Well, I did and moved to stall no. 139, two units away.
However, stall no. 139's location is not very ideal compared to no. 141 as customers have to first walk past no. 141 before they can notice my stall. My ex-landlord took advantage of this and rented his stall to his sister-in-law to open a dessert stall to cut off my business. My business was indeed badly affected initially (dropping by about 40%) but it slowly recovered though not to my previous level. I thank God that He protected me during this period and 22 months later in July last year, that stall was shut down by my ex-landlord because his sister-in-law owed him several months of rental and utilities bills and couldn't pay (I blogged about this here).
I enjoyed improved business for the next few months while my ex-landlord searched for a new tenant. He took so much time because he insisted on finding a tenant to sell desserts only. Anyway, he finally found one and the new dessert stall opened in October last year. Thank God that this time, my business was less severely affected (down maybe about 20%) and the wait for victory was much shorter too. That stall closed down after about 4 months in February this year (I blogged about this here).
You'd think that my ex-landlord would have learnt his lesson but, no, he still insisted on finding another tenant which sells desserts. A fellow stallholder selling "you cha kway" (i.e. deep fried flour fritters) wanted to rent the stall from him but he refused, saying that he was looking for a dessert seller. Well, after leaving his stall empty for almost five months, he finally found another dessert seller which will be opening in a few days' time.
(Update: The new stall has opened but is not really selling desserts. It sells mainly fruit juice, smoothies and cut fruit but my ex-landlord made them keep his ice-shaving machine and bowls and plates, which they do not use, in the stall. I have no idea why they agreed to pay him rent to keep his equipment in the stall!)
Thank God that He already foresaw this, and this time God turned from defense to offense and moved me from no. 139 to no. 130, directly opposite no.141. This location is much better compared to no. 141 because it faces the oncoming customer traffic and therefore customers will see my stall first.
This is the result of God's favour because I did not actively seek out my new stall location: a few weeks ago, my new landlord approached me and invited me to move over to her stall as her existing tenant had decided to terminate her lease. The timing was also perfect as the hawker centre was scheduled to close for spring cleaning last Monday and Tuesday, and I could move all my equipment over to my new location without worrying about affecting my fellow stallholders' businesses or causing inconvenience to customers.
I see God's hand in this move and I thank God that when I just let go and let Him take care of the situation, He does a perfect work for me. I'm going to work soon and looking forward to this new beginning! Hope to see you guys turn up at my new stall soon ;-)