April 13, 2016

It’s unhealthy to constantly linger in the past, but sometimes reminiscing can make the sore spots softer (at least, that’s what we tell ourselves). In an age where brands are coming and going at a turnover rate faster than ever, it’s pretty easy to not even think twice about someone packing up and leaving. Nevertheless, here are five stores that did make an impact on our sad little consumerist lives – so much we wistfully wish for their return. One day…


1. River Island


The blow of River Island exiting Singapore in 2012 might have been cushioned by H&M’s timely arrival, but we definitely still feel the absence of the British high street brand’s eclectic, on-trend vibe. It was like a Topshop but younger, cheekier, and occasionally cheaper. Most distressingly of all, the brand’s disappearance kind of came out of nowhere, with all their stores moving out at a rate that put the ‘fast’ in ‘fast fashion’. Oh well, at least they’re still semi-accessible via Zalora.


2. HMV


Stand in solidarity, music hipsters of the 80s-90s who reminisce the days of skulking around Singapore’s last remaining semblance of a record store. There’s nothing quite like whiling your life away thumbing through and testing CDs, before walking out nonchalantly having not bought a thing; and it’s carefree moments like these that we’ll always miss. Also, where are we going to get our cheesy boyband calendars and posters now?


3. Taco Bell


This is one F&B outlet loss we’ll never get over. Blame it on high rental fees in shopping malls these days, but we blame their exit on Singaporeans’ lackluster appreciation of Mexican food. Last sighting of this American treat was probably at Shaw Lido, when the top-floor cinema space was still a dark, dingy gathering of fast food stalls. Oh what we would give to have cheap tacos and burritos back in our lives, now that we’ve grown up and expanded our palates beyond KFC.


4. Frolick


Wait what? Frolick is gone too? Believe it or not, this once-upon-a-time leader in the froyo game has quietly bowed out of the desserts scene – totally understandable with big players like Llao Llao, MilkCow, and Honey Crème entering; but nonetheless heart-wrenching. If there’s one thing we won’t miss, though, it’s the controversial stringent hiring only of “pretty girls”. Sheesh.


5. Carrefour


Is it the free bread samples from the bakery section we miss the most? The extensive selection of toys we’d lose our younger siblings in every time we made a trip to go get groceries? Or the fact that it was simply the mecca of grocery, stationery, toys and lifestyle, and fresh food shopping that’s left an equally large hole in our hearts? One thing’s certain – four years on and we’ll still never come to terms with why a successful hypermarket (ranked 2nd in the world behind Walmart) that showed no obvious signs of slowing would choose to leave.

And no, we didn’t include Borders on this list because it’s a given that the entire island wants it back. *Wipes books-less tears away*.


Featured image from riverisland.com.