Shopping in George Town’s Old General Store Penang

Shopping in George Town’s Old General Store Penang

Shopping in George Town’s Old General Store Penang

Come Shopping in George Town’s Old General Store Penang and experience the old style of the 60s and find a dream book treasure!

For a shopping spree off the beaten path, try heading to George Town’s old general store in Lebuh Noordin, Penang. Shopping in George Town is not just about chilling in the shopping malls.

If you’re curious, take a walk down the streets and look in the old businesses. This is where true blue Penangite drop by to buy and bargain. Quaint and Old Style, these general stores have just about everything you need and more. Most of the time, you will not be able to find the items in malls.

GEORGE TOWN’S OLD GENERAL STORE

Septuagenarian Chen Sin Tat started his general store, Sim Aik General Trading at 136, Lebuh Noordin, Penang almost sixty years ago.

Since 1960, the little general store has continued with brisk business mainly from regulars who have continued to patronize and support the business until today.

Chen explained that in Penang Hokkien, his store is called “Eow Huan Tiam” and not a “Chap Hoay Tiam” which means sundry shop.

SHOPHOUSE 

Like many old Penangites, he lives in the terrace house behind and above his shop.

The general store is neatly arranged but filled to the brim with all useful items; from sandals to school shoes to safety shoes and boots, the general store is the proverbial hypermarket of the old school selling stationery, school uniforms, toiletries, flasks, gloves, pillowcases, bed sheets to combs to Chinese wedding supplies and decorations.

“My customers have become like old friends to me. I have seen four generations of customers who have literally grown up before my eyes. From the grandfathers to the fathers, the sons and now even the grandchildren are here to buy their necessities.”

George Town’s Old General Store Penang
Senior Chen laughing said, “I sell everything under the sun for practical use with the exception of caskets. For that, you have to call an undertaker.”
George Town’s Old General Store Penang
Chinese wedding paraphernalia sold here include miniature Red, Black & Gold Bakul Siah Wedding Basket for Straits Chinese Wedding.
George Town’s Old General Store Penang
Bedak Sejuk or rice cold-pressed powder is sold here.

COLOGNE WATER

A customer was spotted buying  Florida Water which is an American version of Eau de Cologne, commonly called Cologne Water. Florida Water is almost as antique as no other stores carry this brand. It has a nice sweet orange based “flowery” scent that we find appealing.

The once popular Wembley cinema directly opposite Chen’s store was famous for screening Shaw Brothers movies right up to the 1970s. The famous historical site was known as Wembley Park. It was demolished to make way for the 3-star Cititel Express and The Wembley – A St Giles Hotel, Penang.

In her heydays, Wembley Park was a happy and happening world of nightly entertainment.
Noordin Street was a busy road with passing vehicles and pedestrians.

A memorial signboard is erected on the façade of the Cititel Express. The Wembley’s memorial is the movie banner of the famous 1959 Shaw Brothers Chinese movie. The legendary Lin Dai starred in “The Kingdom and the Beauty”.

“I move with the times, it is definitely quieter now. I have curious tourist dropping to chat or take photographs and asking about the history of Noordin Street. The tourists are always on a lookout for delicious Penang food.

“Some would even walk up to Cecil Street Market which is almost 1 KM away to try the hawker food stalls,” Chen added.

Although he could have retired twenty years ago, Chen continues to help his daughter run the store as he finds being active helps him pass time quickly. He is able to chat with his old friends who drop by throughout the day.

George Town’s Old General Store Penang
A variety of old-style Cologne Water.
George Town’s Old General Store Penang
Chen holds up the Two Girls and Jade Butterfly brand of bottled “Florida Water”.
George Town’s Old General Store Penang
Miniature bicycle, motorcycle and trishaw sold at the shop.

DREAM BOOK

Dream books are 100-Character Book that converting dream to lucky numbers for punters to forecast play in Malaysia. There are two types. The numbers differ slightly although both correspond to the same dream. On the cover are the Taoist deity Guan Yin and Tua Pek Kong.

George Town’s Old General Store Penang
Dream Book. Photo: Doris Lim

Sim Aik General Trading | 136, Lebuh Noordin, Penang | Telephone: +60 4-262 7804

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