Tag Archives: Ipoh

The  Bagel Kitchen has closed shop

The other day, probably a week ago I went to the Bagel Kitchen wanted to buy bagels for my wife. But it was closed. At the time I wasn’t sure whether it was closed for good or just for a day. It was a Sunday, so I suspected that they might have closed for good, as Sunday is a normally a good day for business.

Went past again today and saw a “To Rent” sign hanging outside their fence. It is a nice looking place, nicely renovated, and facing the main road. But I guess the Ipoh folks are not so hot on Bagels. Anyway it is going to be a tough year this year so it might not be such a bad idea to cut the loss.

MAPS to open its doors by June

Just when I heard rumours that MAPS is facing problem with British partners ditching the project and lack of funding to continue the project, this news about them opening in June appears. I’m eager to see if they can meet this June deadline this time. I’m not overly hopeful, having been disappointed by their postponement, twice. You see, this piece of news is not in sync with posts from their official Facebook site. MAPS did not officially mention on their Facebook that they will open in June, despite countless angry queries from ticket/pass holders asking them about its opening date. The current Menteri Besar Zambry was right to press for an answer about the opening date. But will it be enough with a statement like that?

Apparently the project is part owned by ex-MB’s son. And he is currently trying to flock a mountain, with minerals I guess, to help continue the project. So sounds like funding is still an issue. And the British partners have pulled out, so it will be interesting to see if they can run it well even if they can open its door in June. What do you think?

Master Jump and BlueBlue Playland

Following  up on my previous post about a new Trampoline Park opening in Ipoh, here are further details I found on Facebook about the new facility:

Location – The Trampoline Park is located in the MBC building (see image below)  in Gunung Rapat. It is behind OldTown cafe, which is facing the main road Jalan Gopeng (or Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah as it is known as nowadays).

 The building itself looks mostly empty, with many vacant lots. The Trampoline Park is located on the third floor, together with badminton courts and a children soft play called BlueBlue Playland.

The Trampoline Park, called Master Jump, looks like this, with basketball rings, soft foam pool, and rock climbing wall to add variety to it. Nothing extraordinary, looks like one my friend showed me in KL, with no air-conditioning too. They however have a massive ceiling fan, like those you can find in some food courts in Ipoh.

The pricing for playing in Master Jump is as follows. Note that the rate is per hour. Can’t tell if it is expensive or not, but the socks certainly are, at RM10 a pair! And all customers have to fill in “Declaration & Waiver Form”, which essentially means that you will bear all the risk of playing in the Trampoline Park. Like I said in my previous post, you better make sure you know what you are signing your kids up for and that your kids are not going to do anything silly there without supervision. 

Updated 3/5/2017: Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is safe to do any silly jump into the foam pit too!

Updated 18/7/2017: Horrible horrible account of what happened to a boy at a trampoline park on his birthday and the trauma the family have to go through.

And check with the staff there to see if they know what to do in case there is an emergency, whether it be to do with first aid or evacuation procedure.

Located next to Master Jump is BlueBlue Playland, which should be more suitable for my daughter. It has a big climb frame like one in Cheeky Tots (probably bigger, I couldn’t tell because I haven’t been there before) too, but with an ocean theme. One thing that concerns me is this soft play does not seem to be air-conditioned (no air cond ducts and all). Will it be enough with just another massive ceiling fan to cool the place down? It is located on the third floor, directly under the roof, and I think it will be like an oven on a hot afternoon! Fan assisted oven LOL I really haven’t been to a soft play that is not air-conditioned in Malaysia. I would really like to know what parents think about such soft play. The children will be sweaty and smelly very quickly. And when there are tens of such sweaty and smelly children running amok in the playland, I’m not sure if I want to be around for long even if I manage to keep myself cool in the fan assisted oven 🙂

Moving on to the pricing. I’m surprised that they are going to charge newborn for going into the softplay too. I have a son a few months old. He can’t sit upright yet, can’t really crawl, only just started to flex his fingers to grip things. I’ll be very interested to see if they provide any baby toys suitable for newborn to justify charging such fee! Apart from that, they are also charging quite a lot more than other soft plays in Ipoh, notably Cheeky Tots. This makes BlueBlue Playland the most expensive softplay now. At RM28, it is RM6.50 more expensive than Cheeky Tots on weekends, and RM12 dearer on a Friday! As for accompanying adults, additional adult is charged at RM10 during peak days! This is insane. It invariably discourages parents with one child from spending time together as a family unit in BlueBlue Playland. And the socks! RM7 for a pair of socks! Utter despair. On the bright side, they allow OKU (with OKU pass) to play for free in their playland from Monday to Thursday. Even on peak day, it is only RM5 for the OKU. 

I was initially rather excited by the new soft play in town, but was put off by the pricing, not to mention the oven bit. What do you think?

Trampoline park in Ipoh

I first get to know about trampoline park (I didn’t even know at the time it is called a trampoline park!) when my friend showed me photos of such premise, possibly located in KL. It looks fun, kids can bounce up and down, and side way too! A fun way for kids to do some exercise. I wasn’t interested at the time, as my daughter was still very young, about 5 years old perhaps.

Heard that there is going to be a trampoline park in Ipoh soon too! So I try to check it out and see where it is. No information available as far as I know, but get to read up more about trampoline park though. It is growing in popularity in the US, with an estimated five to six parks opening every month. But the injuries as a result from playing on trampolines shot up too! 

More evidence trampoline parks are dangerous places for kid

A few important points to note are:

  1. Parents should not be complacent and think that the staff working in the park will supervise or ensure your child’s safety while playing there.
  2. Parents need to be aware of the risks of playing in the park, but the staff also need to be trained to know some first aid knowledge, with procedures on how to handle the situation in case there is an emergency. Cases of broken arm, broken back, and even broken neck have occurred before in these parks!
  3. Discourage your child from doing silly stunts like somersault and all without proper supervision.
  4. Don’t let your child jump together with others on the same trampoline.
  5. Keep your child away from bigger kids.

Does make me think twice before I decide to bring my daughter to a trampoline park, if there is one in Ipoh..

Updated 2/2/2017:

There is indeed a new trampoline park in Ipoh, it is called Master Jump. See my next post on this new trampoline park.

McDonald’s Ipoh City Centre closing in November

McDonald's Ipoh City Centre
McDonald’s Ipoh City Centre
Actually I first heard about this outlet, located opposite of Super Kinta (now UTC), closing last year, from someone who owns McDonald’s in Ipoh. I was taken aback by the news at the time, considering that it was the first McDonald’s in Ipoh, somewhat iconic, and probably meant a lot to many who used to hang out there after school since the late 80’s. I remember asking for donations around that area for my school. And it was a luxury to be able to afford eating in McDonald’s. Not so much happy memories, but they are memories of my past nevertheless..

So they are finally closing up shop next month. And it is the second McDonald’s to close shop after the one in AEON Kinta City last July. Again they are in favour of 24 hours drive-thru model, more profitable. Especially for this outlet since this part of town is not as busy as it used to be. So it’s good bye to this McDonald’s outlet then.

Four PokeStops at De Garden

De Garden is a fantastic place for Pokemon Go players to go collect Pokeballs etc. Do you know there are four PokeStops around De Garden!
Four PokeStops at De Garden

At the De Garden entrance
De Garden entrance

Water fountain facing the main road
Water fountain front De Garden

Where Peugeot show room used to be, next to Digi service centre or below Cheeky Tots [now some work is going on there, apparently a Japanese restaurant is moving in]
Peugeot Silver Lion

Water fountain round the back
Fountain of XMs

While collecting my items, also found out that some work is going on where Ayam Penyet used to be.
New Korean Restaurant

A Korean restaurant is moving in, hence making it the third Korean restaurant after Dao-Rae Korean BBQ and Daebak Dakgalbi. Strong presence of Korean culture at De Garden, with a Korean fashion outlet there too. Next time if you fancy Korean food in Ipoh, De Garden is THE place to go to, on top of it being a great hangout place for Pokemon Go players LOL

Updated on 19/10/2016:
The new Korean restaurant is called DOMA. Soft opened on 15th October. Formally opening on 20th October. Check them out on their Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/doma.modern.korean/
This is only their second outlet. The first one is located in Mont Kiara KL. Very brave to open an outlet here in Ipoh. Am I excited about the food they serve? Nope. I’m more an observer curious about how the Ipoh market responds to it.

MAPS to postpone their opening date, again?!

Heard from an acquaintance who has dealings with the Movie Animation Park Studio (MAPS) in Perak that he is fairly certain that they won’t be ready by December 2016. MAPS have already postponed their opening date to 1 December from June 2016 when they called me in April. Now sounds like they are going to postpone again. From what I understand, MAPS couldn’t settle payment with contractors even for small amount of money (circa tens of thousand). When money is not coming in, contractors naturally deserted them. Without workers I don’t suppose they can get much work done by December. And even if they can get it open in December, it is likely that they can only get a portion of the site ready. I have bought Perak passes for my family members. And we are yet to get the photo passes done (at their entrance?). Perhaps it is worth going there soon, to take a look as well to see how they are getting on.

Boston De Garden has closed shop

Boston De Garden
Another F&B business bites the dust at De Garden. Boston is one of the earliest tenants there. Apparently they stopped doing business since 1st June 2016. It seems that they are a franchise business, because another opened in M-Mall Penang earlier this year. Hence this leaves Daorae as the longest surviving F&B business at De Garden.

Interestingly the furnishing in Boston remains intact. I wonder if they are left there to part settle rental with De Garden? Or maybe there is some arrangements agreed with De Garden to sell on their goodies to the next F&B business? The ground floor of that part of De Garden now has no more F&B outlet. Chatime, Aliyaa and now Boston have vacated. It is tough to keep an F&B business going in Ipoh.

AEON Kinta City’s makeover

Now that we know that AEON Kinta City is not packing up as once feared, I’m sure the Ipoh folks are curious what is in the pipeline at the end of the current makeover effort.

Exterior wise apparently they want to bring the appearance of the shopping mall to be more inline with the rest of AEONs around the country. They are also adding awnings to the ground level shops/restaurants, presumably to provide a more appealing look and feel from the outside too?

Inside, this row of shops/F&B outlets are undergoing renovation.
F&B outlets AEON Kinta City
So like I said in one of my earlier post, the ground floor is going to be populated by F&B outlets. But it is not known what outlets will occupy them, apart from the existing names like Sushi King and Johny. And they will be ready in August, which is only 2 months away. I’m sceptical.

Following that, they will renovate the shop lots upstairs. There I really couldn’t care less, as I seldom buy things these days anyway. I do however genuinely hope some decent F&B outlets move in to the ground floor space.

Pitfalls in opening a cafe in Ipoh

Upmarket cafes were very hot in Ipoh for a while 2-3 years ago. Cafes mushroomed almost everywhere out of a sudden. Many were tastefully decorated, quaint looking, cosy, with everyone one of them seemingly trying to outdo one another. Some have “unique” selling points, like offering self made bread, pastry, high speed Internet connectivity etc. But the fever has died down a little lately, to me anyway. Here is an article that offered some insight into what it is like to run a cafe business in Ipoh.

Some of the business owners are fairly honest when asked about the challenges facing them when running their businesses in Ipoh. Some seemed to either just put on a brave face or they didn’t know where they failed, if I’m being honest. I’ll let you figure out who was or were talking rubbish. But I would agree on the following points for the Ipoh market:

  1. Competition from the popular white coffee, both taste and price
  2. Standalone coffee enjoyment without main meals not so popular here
  3. Appettite for western coffee is there, but market is not big enough to sustain so many cafes

I have no problem with the price points of their coffee. They are their premium offerings, and should rightly charged as they are. But I have a lot of issue with the price points of their other offerings, like desserts, light bites (sandwiches included) and even main meals! They are deluded, thinking that the Ipoh folks earn as much as those in KL and Penang. In fact if I go to KL, I get better (much better) value for money, on both coffee and food! Incredible isn’t it? But it is!

Basically, your business needs to survive and sustain in such competitive environment first, with so many cafes around, and price reasonably. Lower your cost and overhead, target the right audience and offer value to these customers. Ipoh folks always like good bargains, and they will come back to you if you offer them good value. Tourists business is good, but it is often one-off, and there are not that many tourists coming to Ipoh. Businesses in Ipoh need to first and foremost focus on the locals. Otherwise it will be the same old story. You have been warned.