Attractive hometown business

Superstore owner
Both Ham Kimsan and Te Youlim were both born into business families in Phnom Penh. They married during the Pol Pot regime and then in 1984 moved to a refugee camp near Thailand-Cambodia border. In 1988, they left for a new life in Canada. There they worked hard, eventually opening a restaurant and a jewelry store. Then, in 2011, feeling homesick for the country they’d left more than two decades before, they came back to Cambodia.
“We would like to develop our country as much as other countries,” said Kimsan. “We could see there were many foreigners in Cambodia able to operate big businesses, yet we could not see many of our own Cambodian people doing that Since we are Cambodian, I decided to plant a business that will benefit our people.
First they studied local living condition and took stock of the commercial situation in Cambodia to establish exactly what locals needed. Finally, one year later they settled on two business opportunities—a restaurant called “Villa Restaurant” and a retail supermarket named Superstore.
“No supermarket locates here,” said Kimsan and Youlim. The Superstore location in Khan Sen Sok was selected because of its potential for growth due to the growth of the settlements. People started to move from the crowded city center to escape the congestion. According to Kimsan and Youlim, many families the neighboring residents really like Superstore’s location. The location fits well with the strategy of the municipal authority plans to enlarge the city.
Construction of the large Superstore, next to Sen Sok Hospital, was completed in 2013. It aims to be a one-stop-shop of international standards and service. Says Kimsan, “Any of our customers who used to live abroad will feel exactly the same when they come into our store.”
The spacious store contains a wide range of goods including foodstuffs, cosmetics and beverages, attractively displayed along wide isles in air-conditioned comfort. Moreover, the store also has a large off-street parking area. Pricing is competitive with those of other stores, but offers a 10 percent discount on purchases made on Wednesdays. There is also delivery service provided by the store itself.
To achieve an “international standard,” management and systems are strong, the premises are kept clean and sanitary, product is of high standard and varied, with standardized prices. Human resource management is also vital.
But it hasn’t been without its challenges.
1. Market research: more knowledge of consumer demand is needed.
2. Lack of skilled staff: A lot of time is spent training employees to higher skill levels; developing loyalty and a sense of belonging and ownership of the workplace; and to cope with the flow in and flow out of the products; and to be responsible with customers. One important thing they encourage in their staff is to not be afraid of their employers but to always think of the customers’ needs, to think of their customers as their employer.
3. Product management. Product needs to be well-kept and placed in the correct location to maximize sales. Checks need to be made on fast moving products and slow moving products. Checks need to be made for any expired products, that need clearing from the store.
4. Good management. The store is to be recognized as a place that supplies quality products and quality service to customers.
Due to their many years of experience in retail in Canada, Kimsan and Youlim are sure they will encounter obstacles, but are confident in their ability to succeed. They stress that “success doesn’t happen; it needs persistence and commitment.”
They understand that success is a long-term thing, requiring much hard work. “We must not lose hope if initially people do not come to our store” says Youlim. “We have clear goals in this business. We plan to expand their Superstore brand all around Cambodia.”
She and her husband have a commitment to integrity in business. She believes that through their hard work and honesty, one day they will produce a good result. “If a man cannot see, there is God who can see it,” she says.

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