A DIY store that promises to help you find solutions to all the problems in your house
A family-run store has undergone tremendous transformation—the brothers Low Cheong Kee and Yew have taken their grandfather’s neighbourhood store, which sold charcoal and firewood, to unbelievable heights. Their parents, keeping with the times, moved on to paint and hardware, with their very young sons helping in the store. In 1993, at the age of 29, Low Cheong Kee started his first DIY Home-Fix store in Singapore, at Siglap Centre. Today 23 stores are spread out over Singapore, 11 in Malaysia, and one in Indonesia, and Kee hopes to be Asia’s largest such chain soon.
Running a home smoothly has never been easy. Irritating repairs, bad workmen, poor quality hardware – it’s a homeowner’s constant nightmare. Wouldn’t it be lovely if one could deal with small repairs oneself, with the right tools, kit and advice? At the Home-Fix DIY store, one can find nails, bolts, screws, clips, tools, fans, lights, wires, switches, paints, tree cutters, lawn mowers, gardening shears, bug killers, flower seeds, fertilisers, water sprinklers, water tubes, taps, shower heads – in fact, anything to make the house trouble-free, and comfortable.
Nothing helps like hard work and the right attitude, feels Kee, who aims to make Home-Fix the best solution provider in this line. He even quotes Gandhi, “The customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to serve him.” In the early days, he used to meet customers at the kopitiam [coffee shop] in Siglap to get their feedback. Apart from courteous service, Price, Promotion, Product and Place—the fundamental 4 P’s of marketing by Phil Kotler became Kee’s mantra. He developed a great team of professionals, rewarding them with incentives and benefits. He rewarded customers too, with membership initiatives and loyalty benefits. A strong need to do good for society fetched him Entrepreneur of Year for Social Contribution in 2009, with many recognitions following, over the years.
Today, to cope with labour shortage Kee has developed a practical move. Customers stand in front of a special television, wave at the product they wish to buy, and see it in action on the screen, clearing any doubts. By the end of the year, he hopes to install this technology in all his stores. This move has cost more than $500,000 but saves hiring 22 people. Currently, about 170 employees work for this chain. Along with DIY, Home-Fix is now providing DIFY (Doing It For You) a range of handyman services, professional repair, replacement, installation and painting.
And for tourists who have missed out, Home-Fix is also brilliantly located at Changi Airport Terminal 3, to make life easiers back home.