Executive Feature: Ng Whye Hoe
(Pet Lovers Centre Pte Ltd)
Interviewed by Grace Lui, Head of Marketing Communications and Daniel Chen, Marketing Communications Manager
About Pet Lovers Centre
Pet Lovers Centre (PLC) is a home-grown pet retail and service chain that was founded in 1973 as a family hobby business. The company only rapidly grew since the second generation of the Ng family took over in 1995. Since then, they have expanded to Malaysia and eventually to Asia.
To date, it is the largest pet chain store within Singapore and Malaysia.
A pioneer in the pet food and accessory retail industry in Singapore, PLC is a household name today, known for its ability to offer its customers the widest and freshest range, coupled with prompt and warm service.
What challenges did you face when you took over the leadership? How did you turnaround a loss-generating family business to what it is today?
The company was battered with financial and operational challenges when my friend and I took over the reins of the business in 1995. On my official first day, I backed my van up against the wall! What a day to start my first day. Despite my lack of experience, I made it up with a ferocious positive spirit – on top of being a delivery driver, I also took on the roles of being a store assistant, cashier and director at the same time. Although we were mentally and physically tired, we persevered through and focused on the long-term growth of our company.
Together, with the combined efforts of my brothers, the company began to turn around gradually. In 2003, Whye Tye (David) stepped in as Chief Executive, implementing proper corporate management and an efficient IT system. Whye Keong joined in 2011 to provide supporting roles in finance and human resources as the company expanded. I am grateful for my family, including my mother and the shareholders’ support even though there was some resistance to opening up one store after another. However, they have always trusted my vision, and for that, I’m grateful.
We started implementing what seemed to be an endless stream of ideas to propel our company further. For a start, we produced our own fresh pet food marketed under the “Burp!” house brand, which is delivered directly from the factories. To ensure that the quality of the pet food is of the highest quality, I personally tasted it myself.
To quote another example, The Pet Safari, a thematic store was launched to bring in vets, groomers, breeders, products and services under one roof where customers can shop with their pets. On top of that, all Pet Lovers Centre stores are staffed with consultants who have veterinary experience to offer professional advice to customers.