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History of our Founder: The life and times of Mr. Tan Peng Kheok
In 1956, at the tender age of 18, Mr. Tan Peng Kheok worked at a provision shop as a salesman. His monthly salary was only 60 dollars. During his time at work, he observed an old man holding a basket of flowers, traveling from houses to houses knocking on each door, selling flowers. This small business seems to be doing the old man quite well and an idea struck Mr. Tan Peng Kheok.
In the 60s, flowers businesses did not have a stable foothold in Singapore. There is only 10 flower shops operating, and not to mention people find it troublesome to travel a long way just to buy flowers. Therefore buyers choose to purchase flowers from people like the old man that travel from houses to houses. Moreover the flowers sold by the old man was harvested from the hills, rendering the business zero starting cost than his/her effort and time. Whatever they can sell afterwards are all profits.
Mr. Tan Peng Kheok decided to invest in a bicycle to start his own flower business venture. However a bicycle cost 70 dollars, short of a 10 dollars from his monthly salary. He went to many friends in search of a 10 dollars loan, most of them turned away. At last lady luck smiled on Mr. Tan Peng Kheok and one neighbour willingly loaned him a 10 dollars, fulfilling his criteria of starting his business venture.
On the first day of obtaining his bicycle, he woke up at 5am to travel up the hill and began harvesting flowers. Afterwards he travelled to Bukit Timah area and sold his flowers to the foreigners living there. His first day profit was 8 dollars; it made Mr. Tan Peng Kheok very elated. Few days back he was troubled over a 10 dollars and yet on his first day of his business venture he earned an 8 dollars profit.
His first month profit was a whopping 500 dollars and he was only 18 years old that year. Slowly he upgraded his mode of transport from a bicycle to a motorbike and finally a car. Mr. Tan Peng Kheok’s business venture was so successful that he had to cover every streets available in Singapore. Compared to other people doing flowers trade at that time, Mr. Tan Peng Kheok was the most diligent of them all.
2 years later, the business began to proliferate. He chose to grow his own supply of flowers and plants, building up a nursery. Mr. Tan became the first florist in Singapore to grow his own flower inventory, unlike the competition. It went on a steady growth for 7 years.
A decade after 1956, in 1966, the Singapore Government passed down a bill, stating that all businesses are to register their company if they wish to continue operation. Mr. Tan Peng Kheok registered his business accordingly and rented a space at the Beauty World Centre to open his very first storefront. During that period, every florist around used names that likened them to royalties, such as “King’s”, “Queen’s”, and “Royalty’s”. Not wishing to come up short against the competitor, he chose a name that’s suited for the dazzling flowers he was selling; Naming it “Prince’s Flower Shop Pte Ltd”. His Magnum Opus, Prince’s, was named.
In the 90s, Mr. Tan Peng Kheok’s fresh flowers and nursery business grew to new heights, to the extent where he had to expand his operation ground by leasing a 50000 m² land from the Singapore government. Soon after, the business ventured into landscaping, creating “Prince’s Landscape and Construction Pte Ltd”. Despite the additional business venture, he kept Prince’s Flower Shop Pte Ltd and Prince Landscape and Construction Pte Ltd at the forefront of Singapore floral, horticultural, and landscaping business. Prince’s Landscape received many big projects including Sentosa, T3 (Changi Airport), and Singapore’s National Day. Mr. Tan Peng Kheok became South East Asia’s King of Flowers.
Currently enjoying his retirement, he has handed management over to both his sons and one of his grandsons.
Despite living his Golden Years, Mr. Tan Peng Kheok still visits the Prince’s holdings and offices regularly. He is always keen on giving tips and insights based on his vast experiences, but he understands that the current age of business is best run by younger minds like his grandson.
Seeing as how Singapore has turned into a garden city, Mr. Tan Peng Kheok takes pride in being able to be a part of this memorable green movement as its pioneer.