By Mei Kuan
Kicked off in April, Susan’s Mart Ipoh is an online platform where one can stock up on a myriad of groceries while contributing to a very good cause all at once with just an effortless tap of a finger.
Ipoh Echo spoke to Ipoh-born Ho Sue Fun @ Susan Ho, the founder of Susan’s Mart Ipoh, to learn more about the online goods and delivery service.
“During MCO, I got retrenched in early April. Incidentally, a friend of mine called to ask if I would like to take up a vegetables business with fresh produce brought down to Ipoh from Cameron Highlands. Taking it as an opportunity to try something new, I do the sales and deliveries. From there, I realized people loved variety and the convenience of getting everything in one go, so it expanded from vegetables to frozen food, handmade/home-cooked food to even non-edible products,” she recalled.
Running on the objective to build a business to survive and at the same time do good, Susan aims to provide customers with a convenient platform to get everything they need from fresh food to products which are baby-friendly and senior-friendly to boot.
“We publish what we have to offer on Facebook and Blogspot. Then, customers contact us to place their orders. We keep it capped at a minimum of RM40 per delivery and delivery is free. This is to ensure that petrol is covered for the items sold,” she explained.
After payment is made online, a receipt will be issued and delivery will be done on the agreed delivery date and time. “Customers can also opt for COD (cash on delivery), which is risky but during MCO, there were many elderly whom I received cash from as I have to be understanding of them not being tech savvy with online banking. Customers do have the option to pick up pre-booked items from Stadium Tian Mi Mi Stall 3,” she added.
One bestseller of Susan’s Mart Ipoh is the mantao (Chinese steamed bun) which is made fresh daily without the addition of any colouring or preservative. It is available with options of strawberry, purple sweet potato, pumpkin or plain. Homemade char siew bao (bbq pork bun) and vegetable bao are all-time favourites too.
Equally eye-catching products spotted on its website are the disposable soap tablets, antibacterial face mask, reusable bags, action figures, traditional desserts, rice dumplings and fresh imported fruits among others.
The amiable Susan is also the co-founder of the voluntary group, Pay It Forward Ipoh (PIFI) which has been serving the homeless on a weekly basis (Saturdays) from April 2015. 10% of sales proceeds from Susan’s Mart Ipoh go to PIFI.
“PIFI is in need of sponsorship at the moment. Our funds have zeroed out because during MCO, more people were sent onto the streets and instead of the regular 50 pax, we increased it to 100 pax and we had to bring forward all the servings which we had till the end of June to fill them up,” she highlighted.
She also shared on how the team identifies and reaches out to the homeless: “Since we have been serving for more than five years now, we recognize most of the regulars. There were some who were new faces but our homeless friends do point out to us to those who are the genuine ones. The homeless are never greedy, they never expect anything from us, and if they have already eaten, they will ask us to give it to someone else. They will also look out for each other and inform us if their fellow mate has gone for a shower, then show us their fellow mate’s sleeping area. Since MCO, we have widened the area to Menglembu. Our regular spots are always UTC, Taman Kanak Kanak, Little India, multiple random places in Old Town and New Town.”
Meanwhile, PIFI can be reached at 012-5714277 (Susan) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org