Several bubble tea shops in SS15 seem to be facing possible closure, only about a year since the business district in Subang Jaya became famous for being the 'Bubble Tea Street'
The row of shops drew large crowds for the variety of bubble tea shops available, ranging from overseas franchises such as Xing Fu Tang and Daboba, to local brands such as Pin Tea and Chatto, within walking range of each other.
According to The Star, in November 2019, there were 29 bubble tea stores in SS15.
However, some of these once-popular shops were seen sporting 'For Sale' and 'To Rent' signs on their storefronts recently
Facebook user Keith Kuang took to Facebook on 11 May with a video of himself driving down SS15 and showing that many of the stores have been put up for sale.
In the video, Kuang wondered aloud whether the others would survive the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) that was implemented to slow the spread.
"I see millions of dollars drained out. I see the disappointment of the business owners. I see sadness. I see the loss of hope," he wrote in the caption.
"At the same time, I see the possibility of reshaping the ecosystem here. I see stabilising of demand and not speculation. I choose to see hope!"
He added that with adjustments and the adaptation of the 'new normal', he has hope that these businesses would strive again after the pandemic is over.
In a post uploaded on 16 May, members of the Subang Jaya 梳邦再也 Facebook group had also spotted a few closed shops in SS15 and expressed their concern when they realised two of the businesses were barely a year old.
"As many Bubble Tea Street merchants close their businesses and the epidemic continues, how many other businesses will be overwhelmed?" they asked while urging their followers to continue supporting local businesses.
According to their Facebook pages, Whale Tea opened its outlet in SS15 in July 2019, while The Black Boss started its business in September 2019.
SAYS has reached out to the local establishments, including OneZo as seen in Kuang's video, to verify if their outlets are truly permanently closed.
While many netizens were sad to receive the news, some others said they predicted this would have happened regardless of the MCO
"Rest in peace" and "Say goodbye" were among the condolences Facebook users wished to their favourite boba shops.
While this user said, "Even without COVID-19, it would have happened sooner or later."
This netizen explained the possibility why, "It might not be just because of the pandemic. It could be because there was just too many."
"If you're not better than the others or not as popular, then you don't get much business. Some people go there for just a specific brand, they won't try new brands."
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