Siblings pitched in to help Gain City thrive
Local consumer electronics retailer celebrates 36th anniversary this year
Mr Kenny Teo and his four siblings have managed consumer electronics retailer Gain City for 36 years, but he said they have never fought about money or responsibilities.
The managing director, the youngest of six children, told The New Paper: "We have disagreements, but when it comes to the company, we have always had the same direction."
His oldest brother, Danny, the executive chairman, founded Gain City in 1981 -starting off by installing and repairing air-conditioning units for the family's Hougang kampung neighbours.
He opened the firstGain City store in Towner Road in 1983 and eventually expanded to sell other electrical appliances.
Along the way, he roped in four of his five siblings. Their second brother runs a childcare business.
Mr Kenny Teo, 45, started helping out when he was in primary school.
He said: "We do not just buy and sell air-conditioners. We also provide delivery, installation and maintenance. We even import raw materials and make our own air-conditioner brackets and ducts.
"If we do these things internally, we can control the cost and the quality.
"Twenty years ago, retailers were fighting about whose volume was bigger, or who could buy the most units. Now, all retailers have that kind of muscle, so we are all competing to have the lowest operation costs."
Gain City now has 10 outlets islandwide, and it is celebrating its 36th anniversary this year. Its megastore, which opened last year in the Sungei Kadut industrial area, has a total floor area of about 50,000 sq m - about the size of seven football fields.
It even has its own diesel pump station for the company's 180 delivery trucks and vans.
Mr Kenny Teo said the company closed three warehouses before opening the Sungei Kadut showroom.
"These days, families are getting smaller, but appliances are getting bigger.
"(Shop) rental is also getting more expensive. Smaller showrooms means you cannot display a good range of products," he said.
"We used to transfer things from warehouse to showroom and back, which was expensive, and customers had to travel to different showrooms just to see our full range. Our new location might be a bit out of the way, but now everything is in one place."
The company started selling appliances online at www.gaincity.com about a decade ago, and Mr Teo is not worried about the competition from other e-commerce companies.
He said its online sales have grown significantly over the past two to three years.
"People here still prefer buying electronic products in person. Appliances bought online also might not have the required safety marks or warranties."
Gain City has 800 staff, and it is no longer just a family business.
With all the Teo siblings in their 40s and 50s, there are succession plans in the pipeline.
Mr Kenny Teo said: "It does not have to be someone from our family. As long as they are capable of taking the company to greater heights, that is good enough."