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Sweet Stone
The concept of Sweet Stone began in the beginning of 2007 as an idea that struck one of the owners, James Lee after meeting with a friend from Belgium. This friend had all of the equipment and some knowledge to prepare delicious gelato, waffles, and other European dainties. The equipment had been nearly unused in his residence for over a year with the exception of the occasional private function and home party for his friends. James felt that instead of letting this be a waste of resources, it could help generate not only income, but a great taste phenomenon in Singapore.

Due to the expenses of introducing a new business in Singapore, James began his search for a lower cost approach to begin this new business venture. A storefront or restaurant rental is a huge financial killer in this area and many new set-ups will not survive the harsh but true fact of 'working' then paying the landlord a large portion of revenue at the end of the month.

James brainstormed, trying to find more and better ways of tackling this huge problem. Instead of bringing a large financial gain to a landlord, it was time to find more affordable avenues of introducing a great product to the masses.

It was at this time that James hit upon the idea of using the hawker centre as a platform to start this business venture. In these areas, rentals can be significantly lower than traditional shopping malls and high streets. As this is his first F&B venture, it makes good sense to begin his experimentation in knowing the popularity of the product.

Through market research, James had found an ideal location. He had to be sure that the experiment would be a success or at least for the initial phase of the business development. Just offering a great product is not enough; the marketing strategy had to capture the attention of his target customers and the media. Instant attention would be needed to give the venture a great start. That's where this great tasting product started in the heartlands of Singapore.

Within two weeks of operations, the first media opportunity came. James was being asked to be featured and part of a television program that showcases products that are good and affordable for consumers.

According to James, this was a great stroke of luck. He says, "I think there was also a huge part on luck here. However, we have to make sure we maintain and keep product quality and service quality at tip-top conditions as well. This has helped us gain many good raves on the internet, blogs and forums too."



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