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Same Old Shop, Brand New Location

Otago Optical has shifted to a new location:

633 Veerasamy Road (Upper Weld Road)

# 01-108

Singapore 200633

This is 3 stops away from the old place at Chinatown (via Downtown Line).

Accessible from Jalan Besar MRT and Rochor MRT.


The Story

From the 'attic' of a shophouse to a proper shop on the ground floor - it is now just one step into the store, as compared to the 37 steps you would have climbed to get to us when we were at Chinatown. One small step for you, a giant leap for us. While we really liked the cozy space, the accessibility seemed to be quite an issue for some of our customers, and on occasion even for us when the street is closed for events.

With the rental increase - the market rate was indeed 40% as observed and heard from the other rentals in the area - we found that the disadvantages just weren't worth the uniqueness of the unit. How is the street going to be developed; would it continue to be blocked periodically due to road and other works; is our entry door going to be even more covered up; are customers going to struggle to get to us through the crowds?

Hence when our lease was up, the choice was clear. We couldn't stay.


The Big Move

We thought it would take a couple of weeks. It ended up taking almost two months. From properties that we viewed that were not actually available and landlords looking for 6 months of deposit (cash flow issues?), to having to use the landlord's contractor for works and landlord backing out after accepting the Letter of Intent. And then there were the layouts that didn't work.

And then there was the reinstatement - pre-covid pandemic, it would have taken about $400 to $500 to remove the partitions we had put up. Now, it is $3000 to $4000. That's at least sixfold! Throw in some additional issues with our new store - we took over an abandoned lease and hence 'as-is', with various problems from the previous renovation, from electrical to plumbing and more.

We sometimes ponder what is in store for Singapore in the near future. The price increases seem to be unexpectedly large, and out of touch for the standard of work - the shocking amount the second-previous tenant paid for renovations at our current unit just didn't match up with what we had to repair and redo.


Some Questions and Answers

- Why Jalan Besar? -

The HDB flats at Veerasamy Road are very well-connected, being walking distance to both Jalan Besar and Rochor MRT stations on the Downtown Line, which intersects with various other lines (CCL, NEL, NSL, TEL), plus being just 3 stations away from our old place at Chinatown.

- What's new? -

We now run on a hybrid system of walk-ins and appointments, which reduces your wait time and allows you to come in at timings previously unavailable.

- What's old? -

Our commitment to affordability and quality remains the same - we regularly benchmark our products and prices to other similar optical stores, to ensure that we are on the 'better value' end of the market.

- What's upcoming? -

In the second half of 2024, we will be retiring some older styles and putting in new styles - the product range continues to evolve to suit the needs of the large majority of our customers. We always welcome your feedback and sharing on the frames and types of lenses you're looking for.



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