Saturday, September 23, 2006

Final Curtain Call - Likas Mart


Likas Mart, Kingfisher Park Branch, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 2006.

It sad, a place you are so familiar with, walking through it everyday without a thought that it might not be there again some future date and yet the inevitable happens. I'm sure any UMS students from 5 years or more back will know intimately of Likas Mart, why wouldn't they, it had the bright idea of setting up their three main branches in the three outer residential buildings that housed UMS students which in any case are located in high density residential areas, so it was good business sense. So I can say that he/she is not a UMS student if they say they have never every bought so much as a pencil from Likas Mart before at its various branches at Indah Permai, Taman Kingfisher and Likas.

Yet there were signs that the Likas Mart era was soon to end, begining early this year news was floated that Giant, yes one of the main owners happens to be the Selangor Government, is buying up Likas Mart to stretch their tendrils into the Kota Kinabalu retail market. Then Likas Mart decided to end its customer loyalty programme mid this year and asked everyone to redeem their points, signaling the unaviodable. Why not it makes perfect sense, a brand name that is recognisable and trusted with a long history and longer customer base. It would be easier to take it over than to start from scratch. It may bring about better things like more varieties and cheaper products (effects which are yet to be seen at present) but its sad that such a fine institution had to go under a homogenous Super Retailer Agent. It was nice to know that something home grown as Likas Mart not only trived but excelled at it, had its origin from Kota Kinabalu, it would have been nice to one day see a Likas Mart at say KL. Guess that is not to be, before it could take on Peninsular, Giant gobbled it up.

So maybe its nostalgia because for the past five years I've walked through its aisles, bought my groceries there, took a break and window shopped around. Well it does have its moments, it was at Likas Mart Indah Permai that I managed to see Laura after the first fruitful encounter during the Kudat Trip and at its Kingfisher branch that I literally 'stalked' her and later asked her to go steady, not the most romantic place to do so but appropriate, haha. So much so that we actually called it our 'pak toh' (dating) place because we go there more than any other places. So here's to a great run for Likas Mart, to your customer loyalty cards with Likas Mart Points that gave you cheesy cheap exchanges after like say RM2000 spent, to your bad tempered bag counter guards which acts as if taking your bag is the last thing they want to do, to your 'almost expired' cheap sale clearance counters, to the constant breakdown of your credit card system, to your misprised or non system items which took ages to get the correct prices and to your inconsistant stocking inventory which often see certain products being out of stock for insane periods of time. But it was nice none the less. So for all those that remember shopping here, lets all give the old girl a grand send off and hello to the monolithic warehouse sale clone store that is Giant, Cheers.

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