ANANT BIR SINGH + RAJBIR CHOPRA
Anant Bir Singh, aka Tony, and Rajbir Chopra form the father and son duo who help manage the Sport Fashion Group of Companies, especially Weston Corporation (or Weston Corp) which was established in 1949 and is todays Singapore’s most well known football speciality store. They have also been based at Peninsula Shopping Complex for decades with various retail spaces.
MANDEEP: Tell us about Peninsula Shopping Complex in its heyday in the 90s. Can you remember some of the notable stores that used to be there that are no longer present?
TONY: Peninsula Shopping Complex was built in the early 70s and mainly consisted of clothing, shoe and tailor stores. Two stand out stores I remember in the early days that are no more were 2ND CHANCE which was a affordable well-known local readymade apparel brand and VENICE OF ITALY which sold a huge range of smart casual shoes
RAJ: The stores in Peninsula Shopping Complex have always been around the same mix of tailors, denim, music, camera and sports stores. There also are some very unique stores which have a very old school feel about them. I fondly remember in the 90s there was a Domino’s Pizza restaurant here.
To Tony, our family business history traces back to 1949 when Weston Corporation was set up by your father. What did you learn from him that stayed with you all these years which you have also tried to pass down to your son and nephews?
The business world has evolved tremendously from when started out at my dad’s shop and today my 3 “sons” [including his nephews] run the day to day operations of the business and I can only guide them on the basic fundamentals most important things which were passed down to me:
PAY YOUR BANK ON TIME
PAY YOUR VENDORS ON TIME
PAY STAFF SALARIES ON TIME
Other than that I can only say work with your mind not the heart and you can only leave it to fate.
What do you remember most about the adidas Equipment line that was sold in the store. Did you ever remember selling the adidas Race Walk shoe and what do you think about our new collaboration?
I don’t remember the Race Walk shoe but it reminds me of the best selling training shoes when I was growing up namely the adidas Rome in white with blue stripes & the Vienna in white with red stripes. For the Equipment range, I remember adidas had been quiet at the time and this was a big push and I still remember the iconic green campaign colour on all the branding, advertising and footwear.
Weston Corporation has evolved from a general sporting goods store to a soccer specialty store. What do you think Grandfather would have said if he saw it today. Would he approve?
A definitely "yes!" Especially since we now have a clearer direction on what each store should sell.
Agree 100%. Grandpa would approve as we are more focused and have more niche stores. It’s also a coincidence that this shoe also marks his 20th anniversary since he passed on.
One thing about Weston Corp in Peninsula Shopping Complex, I noticed, is the customers have been your regulars for years and even generations. How does it make you feel that they keep coming back to you?
There are some long-time customers but now they have more choices as we have outlets all over the island so they don’t necessarily have to visit us at Peninsula.
We do have the regulars who pop in for a chat and visit us from time to time, but as my dad had mentioned Weston has expanded island wide and so customers can pop in anywhere for convenience.
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