With rapid development of the urban space, stalls at traditional markets today encounter challenges in competing with supermarkets and the emerging online shopping platforms. Noting that, Man Yip-wo, who has been running Man Kee Fresh Fruit in Graham Street for over 30 years, believes that fresh fruits have a shorter shelf life and are different from dry goods. It can be another reliable option to select seasonal fruits in person to ensure that customers are getting the quality ones.
“Freshness and seasonality are keys to fruits. Proper handling and storage are needed when they are stored in supermarkets and warehouses for a long time, otherwise they perish quickly. Although shopping online is convenient, the quality of goods may vary. The product photos shown on web pages are often stunning, but sometimes the actual looks might be different. The best way to avoid this is to buy them in person to make sure they are in their best conditions, if possible.” Man said.
Having operated for decades, Man Kee Fresh Fruit seeks more and more varieties of fruit to cater for the changing tastes of customers and their needs. To name a few, Man Kee offers fruits from around the world, including avocados, Australian blueberries, custard apples, Japanese pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
Man’s enthusiasm and sincerity are not only reflected in the gorgeously ripe fruits he sells, but can also be seen from his daily habits. As a fruit seller, he shared that he eats fruits every day, "When I am at my stall, I eat fruits that do not need to be cut, such as grapes and mandarins. I also take some vegetables and fruits home to cook dishes like steamed spareribs with pumpkin, pumpkin soup, papaya and chicken feet soup etc., which are all very healthy and delicious."
Siblings Have Each Other’s Back to Operate
Man revealed that operating a fruit stall is not easy. "Back then I switched my career from food management to fruit business operation. Not only did I have to start from scratch, but it was also tough to operate a stall – you work on a daily basis with no holidays and long working hours. It takes four hours to open and close the stall each day, and it is impossible to do it all by myself. Fortunately, my sister is helping me out and we work well as a team."
The shop has been jointly operated by Man and his sister for more than 30 years. They understand it is not an easy industry, and they do not expect their younger generations to inherit the stall. With that being said, their persistence has never been undermined. They are determined to continue the business to sell the freshest seasonal fruits until they reach their retirement age.