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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shoppers scout for best deals on opening of three-day property fair

Visitors started to walk in almost from the start as The Star Property Fair 2009 opened at the new venue of G Hotel and Gurney Plaza in Penang.

Return exhibitors from past years were generally happy with the turnout yesterday after the initial anxiousness over whether the change of venue from the previous Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) would have any adverse effect on the crowd.

SP Setia Bhd property division (north) sales and marketing manager Yeoh Chee Beng said the response was positive for a Friday but it was still too early to tell in terms of sales.

Mah Sing Properties Sdn Bhd marketing and sales manager Venus Ho said the turnout exceeded her expectations.

“PISA used to attract the factory worker crowd with their two-hour lunch breaks on Friday. But here, we have the shopping crowd turning up to check out the properties instead,” she added.

Among those seen checking out Mah Sing Properties’ Southbay project was student Nikki Tham, 21, who was accompanying her parents on their first visit to the fair, which is now in its seventh year.

“We’re here to research the market and see if there’s anything interesting for a future home,” said Tham.

Bank employees Mohd Zaidin Backeer Mohd, 42, Amira Fadzil, 22, Zian Zuryane Idris, 25, and Muzafar Tahir, 27, decided to check out the fair during their lunch break.

“We’re all interested in investing in property and are taking this opportunity to scout around together,” said Muzafar.

Orthopaedic surgeon Datuk Dr Suresh Chopra and his wife Datin Dr Meenakshi Chopra were at the ‘lifestyle’ section of the fair to check out flooring materials for their home in Alor Setar. They were accompanied by their daughter Kajal, 12, and close friend Simran Kaur and her son Sunil Singh Pantlia, 12.

“A friend of ours is showing us around Penang and was supposed to take us to the shops to check out flooring and other materials for our renovations. Since we are here at Gurney Plaza, we decided to browse the fair instead.

“It’s an even better arrangement, as we get to compare the range of products and prices, and the companies are also offering discounts,” said Dr Suresh.

Jia Yee Corporation (M) Bhd business development executive Lai Tong Hai said he expected the company would do better in terms of sales compared to previous years judging by the crowd, but he acknowledged that it was still too soon to be certain.

“Usually, visitors to the fair would spend the first two days browsing and buy on the last day,” he said. Standard Chartered Bank Bhd unit sales manager Andy Poh said there was a good crowd of quality customers and this seemed promising.

“It’s only a Friday and there are so many people,” he said, adding that the bank received good response to its latest credit card and mortgage packages.

The fair, themed Modern Lifestyle, features over 50 exhibitors occupying some 100 booths at G Hotel’s function rooms on Level 2 and the ground floor area of the Gurney Plaza shopping complex’s new wing.

Besides checking out property, home improvement products and financing packages at the exhibition booths, visitors also took the chance to attend various talks and forums, participate in contests, and watch performances.

There is the ‘Surf, Click & Win’ contest sponsored by IJM for a chance at a daily grand prize of a 32” LCD TV and other consolation prizes worth a total RM35,000, and the ‘Lucky Catch contest for a chance to win Blackberry phones, MP4 players, MP3 players, GPS navigators, MAS Airlines return flight tickets, reclining chairs, and Chinese liquor hampers.

Performances include a belly dance and a fashion show featuring various pieces of jewellery which would be auctioned off by Henry Butcher after tonight’s show.

The grand auction of natural gemstones from around the world is targeted to raise RM25,000 in aid of the Penang Pure Lotus Hospice of Compassion and Asia Community Service.

Organised by Star Publications (M) Bhd in collaboration with Henry Butcher and supported by The Expat Group, the three-day fair is open from 10am to 10pm until tomorrow.

By The Star

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