We did it!
With your encouragement, we managed to pull it off and open on World Vegan Day, 1 November 2020! We stayed up till 6am in the morning to stock the shelves, chillers and freezers. We dashed back home, took a quick shower, tried our best to sort out our price tags, but instead fell asleep for 10 minutes, before we had to wake up, down 2 shots of coffee, and drive back to the store in time to greet our team.
It has been quite a crazy roller coaster of a ride. 3 days before opening day, we still had not received our shipment of goods. It wasn’t until the Friday that we heard that the goods had arrived in customs. But even then, it took them a full day to clear customs and we found out later that half of our original shipment was delayed.
In fact, earlier that week, we faced multiple issues with the renovation and we even considered postponing our opening day. We found out that the customised furniture was built to the wrong specification. The chillers and freezers were malfunctioning and kept leaking. The cake chiller we bought turned out to be defective and had to be exchanged (this was on the Friday, 2 days before opening…). Even the letter ‘e’ from our signboard decided to fall off! It read “veryday vegan”. Nothing seemed to go according to plan.
But with great support from the EVG team and all of your encouragement, we managed to make it in time.
By 8:50am on Sunday morning, we were in the shop. The EVG team were all cheery and bright-eyed, and 100% ready to receive our first guests. We gave the floors one final clean, pulled the red cloth and revealed our main signboard (a tradition). And we waited.
The guests came in slowly at first. All were familiar faces and I was so happy to greet all of you and welcome you to our flagship store.
Many of you have been rooting for Everyday Vegan Grocer since our start more than 6 months ago, when I was just a delivery service, picking up vegetables from Quan Fa Organic Farm and delivering it to you. We learned so much from serving you and we feel EVG belongs to you just as much as it does to us.
I am immensely grateful that all of you took a chance with me and believed in what we were trying to do. We chatted and caught up. You shopped, and checked out our new range of vegan groceries. And I am also grateful that many of you supported us by making big purchases even though I know you just made a recent order online. On top of that, you also made contributions to our partner charity, ACRES.
The day went by and it was actually quite manageable. People came in 2 at a time and there was no queue.
At around 2pm, things started to pick up though. Quite suddenly in fact.
I was greeting one guest and then another came, and then before I knew what was happening, there was suddenly a queue forming outside the shop.
The safe management officers recommended that we disperse any queue that exceeded 10 people, so we had to ask a few of you to leave for a short time before coming back. I apologise if you were one of the few who had to leave the queue.
All in all, however, I really felt the event was a successful one. First, we made it in time for our deadline. We had around 150 ticketed guests visit us. We served many cups of coffee lattes made from Puro Fairtrade Coffee & Vitasoy Plant Milks. And thanks to all of you, we managed to raise over $600 for ACRES, a wildlife charity, through our ‘pay-as-you-like’ offers.
There were things we could have done better, and the biggest regret that I have was that I was not able to display our full catalog of new items due to shipment delays, and of course, not making the checkout process smoother. I thank all our guests and friends for your patience and understanding.
Thank you to all who came to our opening day. We hope you will join us in the next steps of our journey to make it ever easier and more exciting to go vegan.