09 Dec 2015
November marks the 20th Anniversary of “New Loon Moon Supermarket”, one of the finest Oriental stores in Chinatown London. The store was established in Gerrard Street long before Chinatown came into existence and today New Loon Moon prides itself as a pioneer in the Oriental and South East Asian grocery sector.
On their special occasion, it was a privilege to conduct this interview with Mr. Andre Cheong, the Managing Director of New Loon Moon Limited and Manning Impex Limited.
TS: Can you please tell us how did you start ‘New Loon Moon’?
Andre: New Loon Moon Ltd started from a small pipedream, which was to have a retail arm of the Business that would complement our Wholesale activities.
Having no previous retail knowledge and starting with only one female and one male staff we basically had to teach ourselves everything… including how to use the cash register!
TS: What separates ‘New Loon Moon’ from other oriental supermarket in the UK?
Andre: It has always been our priority to stay true to the term ‘Supermarket’ and for New Loon Moon Ltd this means a store that our Valued Customer can find and engage with a wide selection of Asian goods and foods.
Just because New Loon Moon Ltd is located in China Town this should not hold us back from offering the vast variety of foodstuffs that All of Asian and the Orient can provide.
We soon realised that Noodles and Fresh Thai Vegetables were an immense attraction that played a key part in our uniqueness; today we continue to develop the widest selection.
Atmosphere; New Loon Moon Ltd hopes to provide a store that will allow our customers to not only find their daily requirements but to enhance the Exploration of different foods sensations.
Holding tastings and demos for products enriches this exploration and everyone like a free taster during a shopping trip.
Changing and moving with food innovations ensures that New Loon Moon Ltd can continue to offer exciting delicacies and tastes for each coming month or year.
TS: What’s the secret to a successful business that has been running for 20 years like ‘New Loon Moon’?
Andre: Too many late nights…hahaha
Perseverance; our ability to push through obstacles and face our business perils with a firm determination that New Loon Moon Ltd will and can endure all with positive grow.
Staff; everyone has knowledge and good ideas and by focusing this wealth of experience into a vision for the future has enabled us to be successful. No one knows it all and a diversity of ideas means that things can continue to evolve and stay fresh. New Loon Moon Ltd encourage positive feedback from our staff and most of all we ask them to listen to our Customers and learn how best to service their requirements.
We hope to deploy a customer loyalty scheme next year to further strengthen our customer relations.
TS: Can you tell us what other business you have besides ‘New Loon Moon’ ?
Andre: A primary feed for product innovations from Thailand is New Loon Moon Ltd’s sister Company; Manning Impex Ltd.
Manning Impex Ltd represents the Wholesale element which promotes and distributes a number of Famous Thai Brands and other South East Asian brands to retail stores in the UK and Ireland.
Recently celebrating 28years of business, Manning Impex Ltd actively looks for Thai food innovations and reflects these exciting trends into the UK.
Thailand is a ‘Kitchen to the World’
TS: What’s the most important skill a person should have for a successful business venture?
Andre: A simple dream; everything around us started small and has developed into what it is today.
If it feels right then do it; don’t over complicate the issues. Keep things plain and simple, the trimmings or extras will come in time.
Explore the unknown and look for the gaps there you can shine rather than trying to take others limelight.
TS: What are the challenges in running a business like ‘New Loon Moon’?
Andre: Did we mention the number of Late nights!!
Operating a store 7 days a week is tough; when everyone is free and enjoying the Weekends then New Loon Moon Ltd needs to be on-the-job and at the top of the game.
Keeping New Loon Moon Ltd’s product offering fresh and new; along with the correct value for money. The UK economy has been tough during recent years and customers are looking to find not just value for money savings but smarter ways of saving their time in the kitchen. Thus, New Loon Moon Ltd must look outside of just the financial value and much deeper into customer lifestyles and desires.
TS: Do you have any suggestion for people who are interested in a starting a business like yours?
Andre: Making errors in the business is easily done BUT this is NOT the Problem!! Finding a solution to the current predicament is the most important item on the agenda.
A delay in firstly admitting and secondly rectifying the error is where a downwards slope can begin.
New Loon Moon Ltd has probably made all the mistakes that can be made but with swift action and a positive course New Loon Moon Ltd has exited, sometimes winning and sometimes loosing.
Question everything that is stated or seen; don’t accept that all advice given is real or true makeup your own mind on the topic.
Once you have a plan stay true to that course of action making small adjustments on the way; never start/stop plans if they look like they are not working as projects will never be completed.
TS: Who are your main customers?
Andre: New Loon Moon Ltd caters for everyone that would like to enter the front doors; from the novice to the most experienced of chefs.
New Loon Moon Ltd feels that food is for Sharing and the best parties are the ones where your tummy is absolutely full and satisfied.
TS: How do you see ‘New Loon Moon’ for the next 20 years from now?
Andre: New Loon Moon Ltd’s future is and will always be a voyage of adventure into the unknown.
We will write each page of our future one by one.
TS: Have you got any special plans for your loyal customers as you celebrate your 20th year anniversary?
Andre: New Loon Moon Ltd has planned a number of activities and special offers all through the Anniversary month of November to ensure that we share with our Valued Customer the 20 years of history we have all made together.
We warmly welcome everyone to come and partake in our event offerings
TS: Both you and your brother, Michael, are active within Thai community (ie. ATBUK). Do you also involve in other Asian communities too?
Andre: New Loon Moon Ltd, Directors and Staff take a very active interest in feeding back into the Thai community; including supporting Thai Temple activities and day events.
Thai, Philippine, Malaysian… community activity allows us to remember who we serve and an ideal way to listen and learn.
TS: On behalf of ThaiSmile team and Thai people in the UK, we would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to you and all at New Loon Moon for completing 20 glorious years of success. You have always been on the top of the list for serving our Thai community with your unselfish services.
We wish you all the success for many more years to come.
Andre: Thank you ! We also want to thank all of our beloved customers, suppliers and friends for being with us during the past 20years.