Having put his heart and soul into his okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) stall at Timbre+ Eastside, 39-year-old Boon was sad to learn of the venue’s November 26 closure, especially as his was a pioneer stall there.
After more than two years at the Singapore Expo, the Timbre Group announced the decision to close the live music and eatery venue through a Facebook post on October 31.
Boon, who asked that his full name not be published, is among numerous stall owners set to bid farewell to Timbre+ Eastside. Some will move elsewhere while others will close for good.
Boon is looking to take a break for the time being but is open to resuming business if he finds a suitable location.
“We have to accept it and move on but I will miss meeting different people who come here for events as well as the tenants who have become some of my good friends,” said Boon, who owns Ajiya Okonomiyaki.
Since it opened on November 27, 2021, Timbre+ Eastside at Singapore Expo has served as a sister venue to its other location in One North, providing a wide variety of food and drinks, with frequent live band performances in the evenings.
When TODAY asked Timbre about the closure, it said that it will not be extending its occupancy at Singapore Expo as it has decided to redirect resources towards other upcoming projects, including a new Timbre+ venue.
Timbre said it would help to ensure a smooth transition of operations to the incoming operator.
The Timbre Group, however, did not disclose if any of the stalls at their Eastside venue will be joining its new venue.
Singapore Expo echoed Timbre Group’s response when approached by TODAY, stating that the group’s intention to “redirect their resources” to other upcoming projects led to their decision not to extend their lease.
Before Timbre+ Eastside closes, the venue is holding a farewell Thank You, Eastside! Encore Party, which will include five themed nights with 11 live bands.
Deciding not to stay on
Today, TODAY visited Timbre+ Eastside to find out how stall owners felt about the venue’s impending closure.
Of 10 stallholders that TODAY spoke to, nine said they would not be renewing their lease to stay on with the new landlord taking over. They intended to move or close for good.
“For us, we were not approached by the new landlord to stay so we decided to take a break first as we don’t have plans to move to another place,” said Joey Er, 36, an employee at East One Sugar Cane & Lok Lok.
Er said that while she would miss being at Timbre+ Eastside as she had a hand in helping the stall grow into what it is today, the closure presented a timely opportunity for her to further cultivate her business acumen.
For Eng Boon Hor, 56, deciding to stay on with the new landlord to run his stall The Rong Guang Kitchen, was not a feasible option due to an increase in rental cost and the low foot traffic.
He said that after calculating all the costs, he did not see a way of being able to run the business without losing money.
However, despite his decision to leave, Eng would still miss seeing his loyal customers who would visit his stall.
“Even though we may not have known each other long, there is a kind of kinship between the customers and I, especially those that would come from Singapore Expo,” he said.
Eng has already secured a space at Changi Airport Terminal 2’s new food court due to open in early 2024.
The impending departure from Timbre+ Eastside also gave Eng the opportunity to work with his son Sebastian Eng, 29, who plans to open a central kitchen with his father and venture into possibly marketing his father’s bottled sauce.