Karaoke outlets and other entertainment venues in Singapore have been forced to close down since end March following the government’s COVID-19 advisory.
It’s been an undoubtedly difficult time for these businesses as the cease in operations meant no income while still having to bear overhead costs.
The toughest hurdle is uncertainty — they have no idea how long they will be able to float when there’s no guarantee when they will be able to reopen.
It’s no surprise then that Teo Heng KTV Studio is making the move to close down half of its 14 outlets here to lessen the burden.
The first two outlets to close down will be the ones at Katong Shopping Centre and Sembawang Shopping Centre as their leases will be expiring soon in August.
Its Katong outlet has already been vacated and the Sembawang outlet will be next.
“Very Bad” Business
In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, founder Jackson Teo repeatedly said that the current business situation has been “very bad”.
The 62-year-old previously shared with Lianhe Wanbao that his business is expected to incur a loss of $500,000 for a month-long closure.
Since Teo Heng KTV has effectively been closed for about four months, it’s safe to assume that his losses have racked up to S$2 million so far.
Despite incurring such huge losses, Jackson has made an executive decision to continue paying salaries to all his employees to help them tide through this difficult period. His business currently employs over 100 staff.
In a Facebook post, Jackson described his employees as the “wealth” of the company. Therefore, during this critical period, it’s only right that he should “take care of them more”.
30 Years Of Blood And Sweat
Founded in 1989, Teo Heng has been around for more than 30 years and has since established itself as an affordable family-style karaoke studio in Singapore.
Jackson first started out selling audio-visual equipment at Katong Shopping Centre and discovered that young people loved singing.
This inspired the idea to set up his own karaoke studio. He went on to rent another unit at the mall on the first floor and opened Teo Heng KTV.
On the company’s website, it stated that Jackson does not come from a well-to-do family. Since young, he earns his own pocket money juggling various part-time jobs.
This is why he wanted to open a budget KTV business so that young customers can enjoy singing without spending a bomb.
From the start, I wanted this to be a clean, happy, healthy place where youngsters could come and sing. We didn’t sell alcohol, we didn’t allow smoking, and we charged only $1 for drinks. You could even bring your own food and drinks.– Jackson Teo, founder of Teo Heng KTV Studio in a 2012 interview
Describing the current situation as a “natural disaster”, Jackson said he isn’t willing to let his blood and sweat for the past 30 years simply go down the drain.
He plans to raise S$1 million and put up a last fight to overcome this crisis. With the remaining outlets, he hopes to recoup the losses and reopen in six months.
“We are ready to consider closing half of the stores and retain half of the hope. If the pandemic is over in six months, we can continue to operate and make a comeback without losing our money,” he told Shin Min Daily News.
“I’m most afraid that I won’t be able to open business in six months, but I can only accept my fate.”
Featured Image Credit: Teo Heng KTV