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8-decade-old iconic Holland Village newsstand officially closed

After 80 years, Thambi Magazine Store in Holland Village closed its doors. Customers flooded in, cherishing moments since childhood, expressing gratitude, and hailing the store as an inspiration for local businesses’ resilience.



SINGAPORE: Thambi Magazine Store, an iconic fixture in Holland Village for over 80 years, bid farewell this past Sunday (5 May), leaving its devoted regulars and patrons melancholic at the passing of an era.

Owned by 49-year-old Periathambi Senthilmurugan, affectionately known as Sam, the newsstand has a rich history spanning three generations.

Initially established by Sam’s late grandfather P Govindasamy as a newspaper distribution service in the 1940s, it evolved into the beloved Thambi Magazine Store, officially opening its doors in 1996.

Sam, once a marine engineering student in the 1990s, unexpectedly found himself at the helm of the family-run Thambi Magazine Store due to unforeseen circumstances.

Despite facing challenges such as increased overheads and declining revenue, Sam told Singapore’s state media CNA that the decision to shutter the store was not due to financial losses.

He cited instructions to downsize the display area of the store as the primary reason behind the closure.

This directive, received from an undisclosed source, would have required him to reduce the size of his magazine display by half.

He expressed concern that this reduction would not only hinder sales but also deter foot traffic, a crucial aspect of the store’s success.

Sam highlighted the essence of the store’s appeal – the ability for customers to peruse a wide selection of magazines and make spontaneous purchases.

He noted that many customers make purchases after simply passing by and spotting a magazine they like, rather than specifically seeking it out.

Despite the prevalence of online reading materials, Sam emphasized the enduring appeal of print magazines among readers.

The outpouring of support from netizens, sharing fond memories of the establishment, underscores its significance within the community.

Sam now hopes to find a new location in Holland Village to continue showcasing his collection of magazines.

In the meantime, he plans to sell newspapers at a makeshift stand near the soon-to-be-closed store.

Undeterred by the challenges ahead, Sam remains resolute in his commitment to preserving the legacy of Thambi Magazine Store and its indelible contribution to the cultural fabric of Holland Village.

“Even though I’m laughing outside, it’s really painful,” he said.

“But I’m not out of magazines yet. I cannot be out of magazines. It’s in my blood.”

Sam persists in his quest to find a suitable location within Holland Village to resurrect the store.

Netizens share fond memories as Thambi Magazine Store prepares to close

Under CNA’s Facebook post comments, many netizens are sharing their fond memories of the magazine store.

One commenter mentioned that they have been patronizing the store since the 90s, praising its customer service and the special treatment of reserving magazines.

They reminisced about the days when magazines came with freebies, and the shopkeeper would even reserve specific editions for them.

Another comment recalled the store as the go-to place for entertainment magazines in the mid/late 80s and early 90s before the internet age, describing it as a point of arrival at Holland Village.

They expressed sadness at its impending closure, stating it will be sorely missed.

Yet another comment shared memories of buying Marvel comics since they were five years old, recalling how their mother would shop there in the 70s.

They reflected on the vibrant atmosphere of those days and expressed nostalgia for the past.

One comment expressed admiration for Sam’s dedication and love for magazines, hoping he finds another location with discounted rent to continue his business.

Customers flock to Thambi Magazine Store to bid farewell

Upon receiving the news, customers thronged to Thambi Magazine Store over the weekend, capturing precious moments with the owner, bidding fond farewells, and expressing gratitude to Mr Sam and his establishment for their dedicated service to the community.

Many hailed the store as an inspiration and a beacon of resilience for local businesses, noting that rain or shine, Thambi Magazine Store stood steadfast in serving its customers faithfully.

Ng SockPeng, a blogger, captured the bustling scene at the store this weekend in a video while she sketched the lively atmosphere, aiming to preserve lasting memories.

She recounted how the store owner’s wife noticed her and generously allowed her to imprint the store’s address stamp on her sketchbook, adding a deeper meaning to her sketches.

“The store owner told me, ‘This stamp has the address here; it would be more meaningful if stamped,'” Ng recalled.

Ng observed that through interactions with customers, it became evident that both the owner and the patrons had forged deep connections over time.

Photographers document the final days of Thambi Magazine Store’s 80-year legacy

Several photographers have made their way to the store, aiming to capture the final moments of the 80-year-old business through their lenses.

Alan OwYong, a photographer, observed that the store’s strategy involved enticing passersby to peruse the unwrapped magazines.

This approach not only succeeded in attracting visitors but also afforded them the opportunity to embark on virtual journeys to distant locales, delve into topics like gardening and home design, savour international cuisine, and revel in captivating photographs.

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“Downsize display area of the store” ??? Why ?!! Were there complaints ?!! That it was distracting, blinding and too much colour ?!! Then, don’t enter the store lah. Walk on the opposite side or look away and not make eye contact !!! Why ?!! After 8 decades, was this, … suddenly and abruptly, a monumental issue !!! The word used was “instructions”. From the landlord, authorities or local MP ?!! Anyways, … it’s such a ridiculous instruction to begin with, and makes the departure of an 8 decade establishment on account of that instruction, … all the more hard… Read more »

Thambi must be stuck in time.
Still magazine?
Culture ,what culture is this?
Thambi culture?
SDP also got a Thambi that always bark at wrong tree!😆😆😆😆

I don’t understand. “They” want him to reduce his display area by 50% because? “They” need the space to do what? As for old fond memories, they used to be a book rental shop in that location with the books being displayed inside and along the stairwell.

Only Oxley can be retained.
And even with the might of parliament and legislation too…

All others are useless to the PAP.

Time to make all PAP people jobless.
And it is not a “:lesson”.
It is a mandatory route.

Preservation of culture, reading values pertaining to knowledge, education, self improvement – what’s going on in the Holland V’s modernist’s minds to discontinue Thambi’s liflohood and existence to serve? And Thambi’s business is also to serve customers of Holland V, right? Isn’t it bcz of Thambi’s customers also helps in pulling in traffic and sales for Holland V. Like what I F shopping centres bad treatment food delivery riders and their bikes parking some months ago when I told these management tt they are BLIND IDIOTS. These riders ARE THERE is PRECISELY SERVING their tenants, their patrons, shoppers AND help… Read more »