Time-honored companies

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These century-old brands that have been passed down for three or four generations now, continue to grow in value in the hands of new-generation business owners.

The stories of bygone years will continue to be retold as people begin to embrace fond memories of the past again.
The stories of bygone years will continue to be retold as people begin to embrace fond memories of the past again.

Some 80% of the early residents of Ipoh were Chinese. Many old customs, lifestyles and even traditional medical prescriptions from the ancestors have managed to survive and thrive. Despite rapid changes taking place through the decades, the stories of these time-honored brands are still being told over and again in the Old Town of Ipoh, some expanding far beyond the city to all over the country and the world.

Old Town White Coffee had its humble beginnings from a cup of white coffee at a little coffee joint in town. For the past 60 years, the white coffee has been packed and marketed worldwide and served at 237 chain stores. But that is not all. The 50-year-old Chek Hup Ipoh White Coffee has successfully brought its exclusive healthy rock sugar recipe to all over the world.

Ipoh White Coffee has since regained its former glory, with countless of new trendy brands rushing in to grab a share of this lucrative market. However, the time-tested century-old brands continue to prosper. Sin Yoon Loong, the original white coffee brewer, remains a huge draw among coffee lovers in the Old Town of Ipoh for the last 80 years.

Among the cities and towns in Malaysia, Ipoh perhaps boasts the largest number of such long established brands, be they traditional Chinese medical halls, herbal tea, medicated oil, pills or ointments. These time-honored brands have not only survived to this day, but have even expanded in the hands of the new generation business owners in adherence to the business philosophies of their grandfathers, strengthened with sophisticated technologies and new business ideas for sustained development.

Tan Ngan Lo herbal tea has not only perpetuated the 50-year-old formulations, but has canned the herbal tea beverage for sale at supermarkets worldwide. New-formulation medicated herbal drinks have been innovated as the outlets, numbering 17 today, expand from Ipoh to Klang Valley and Penang.

The 60-year old Ho Yan Hor herbal tea has diversified from traditional herbal drinks to Western medicines, and in more recent years its own patented formulation to treat minor stroke.

From Kwan Loong to Cap Kapak and Gold Fish Brand, Sew Cheong has developed its own brands of medicated oils for the past seven decades.

The 136-year-old Eu Yan Sang, meanwhile, is now in the capable hands of its fourth generation owners. Eu Yan Sang is an established company boasting a solid business presence worldwide, from Ipoh to all of Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Australia, the United States and a dozen more countries. Today, it is one of the few world-class health supplement conglomerates outside Mainland China.

Ancient stuff is by no means worthless garbage. In the hands of intelligent business heirs with powerful foresight and an entrenched passion for traditional culture, these age-old brands will receive a new lease of life. This is what gives the old brands of Ipoh their added values.

Were you not fascinated by the quaintness of Old Ipoh when you last roamed the streets here?