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Experiential neighborhood grocer curated by M’sian launches new store

Every time David Tseng, founder and CEO of Qra, trips, one of the essential things that help him know a place are his groceries. This is where the consumption behaviors of the neighborhood are reflected, so he makes it a point to experience it for himself to familiarize himself with a place.

And I can understand where it comes from. When I was in Melbourne, the way fresh produce was sold without being individually wrapped in single-use plastic spoke volumes about locals’ farming and healthier eating habits.

Fresh vegetables from the local brand Cultiveat

My boss, Sarah, loves Japanese mini markets for their tasty ready-to-eat meals, convenient desserts, and affordable snacks. These reflect the behaviors of the crowd of busy Japanese workers who tend to refuel on the go.

Thus, we agree that there is merit in David’s belief. With the experience of co-founding Ben’s Independent Grocer (BIG) and general enthusiasm for grocery stores, he opened Qra in January 2021.

Its first outlet was in The Stories, Bukit Tunku, and it later expanded to The Five, Bukit Damansara, with its new location in Arcoris, Mont Kiara. And all this in just over a year.

Its Mont Kiara outlet is the largest to date, spanning some 15,000 square feet, and is now their flagship store.

Snacks (healthy and a few slightly naughty) galore

The name “Qra” is taken from “vicar”, and we can certainly see this value reflected in the urban neighborhood grocer in different ways.

Whether it’s the brands they choose to work with, interior design, or specific store elements, the brand’s focus on product selection in the health and wellness niche is clear.

Why health and wellness? This is a growing consumer trend accelerated by the pandemic, and David thinks many in Malaysia are becoming more aware of what they are consuming.

To accommodate this shift, Qra’s more unique lineup includes sugar-free fizzy sodas, cauliflower crackers, vegan chocolate bars, gluten-free snacks, keto-friendly ice creams, and even vegan cooking sauces, to name a few.

Spot Malaysian Brands

As an online media publication that covers many local startups, we were also happy to see many of the brands we interviewed and featured on Vulcan Post before being proudly displayed on Qra’s shelves.

They include names like ENYA for menstruation products, Cocova for chocolate drinks, Amazin’ Graze for healthy snacks, Softsrve and Calli (keto friendly) for ice cream, Niko Neko Matcha for matcha products, The Good Fat Company for nut butters, PledgeCare for human-grade pet snacks, BoomGrow for fresh vegetables, SauceLabMY for craft sauces… we could go on and on. (And we go.)

Do you see any names you know?

Other household names we spotted among the aisles were:

David shared with us after the official launch that these local brands are specifically selected based on several factors, including consumer affordability, quality, product variety, and the long-term potential of their lasting collaboration.

Beyond that, Qra also focuses on the experiential side of things. You can get your freshly squeezed coconuts or oranges on the spot, grind and churn your own peanut butter and pour wild kombucha‘s fizzy health drinks from taps in three flavors.

You can bring back your bottles for discounted refills

Go on and refill your personal care products in a Re{me}dy self-serve refill and stock up on essential cereals and other foods in Qra’s own bulk food section. Finally, complete your grocery run with self-service payment stations.

The above link to David’s belief that the consumer experience is crucial. Any retail store can sell the same items, but it’s How? ‘Or’ What they sell them who matters.

“How do you want to engage your customers, how do you want them to feel, what do you want them to leave at the end?” he described in a brief interview with us.

This combination and more comprehensive approach of offering diverse experiences from product lines to checkout is what Qra prides itself on continually perfecting.

After checking off your grocery list, there’s a cafe with a menu that includes Aussie brunch-themed delights and Malaysian-inspired dishes, plus coffee and pastries to enjoy in the dining room. outdoors.

Have a bite to eat before or after your shopping

Apart from retail stores, Qra also plans to upgrade and improve its site and e-commerce experience. Their delivery services are now also accessible through a dedicated WhatsApp hotline, and a mobile app is in the works.

Once all of these elements are properly established, the omnichannel grocer will be well on its way to becoming an integrated lifestyle brand.

  • Learn more about Qra here.
  • Check out other Malaysian startups here.