Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Update!!!! The Top Charoen Mystery

What is going on with Top Charoen in Mukdahan????
Update!!!! I found another location hiding in plain sight just down the hill from Mukdahan School. Don't know How long its been there but that brings the grand total to 8. Note: there are only 6 7/11 stores in Mukdahan. Guess there are a lot of people with a lot of money that have bad eyes here. - Khun Rut

Original Story....
There is something going on in Mukdahan with Top Charoen. Let me start by saying that Mukdahan is not that big of a city. Probably the population is about 50,000 or less. This will give you some perspective. When I first moved here there was one Top Charoen Optical franchise in town. There were several other places where you could get eyeglasses made but Top Charoen was the most well known brand in all of Thailand for this service. For a long time there was just this one location. When Tesco/Lotus opened there was a small Top Charoen shop inside of Lotus. Then about 3 years ago a new branch opened near the main entrance to the Indochina market. Things stayed like this for a long time.

Then rapidly, within the past year, more branches started opening rapidly all in a very close area. Just down the street about 70 meters from the original location another store opened in an old magazine shop and about 50 meters further on is another shop on the other side of the street. so within about 150 meters there are 3 branches on the same road. if you stand at the top of the street you can see them all. Two blocks south of the branch near the Indochina market on the two more locations are once again on the same road. One is on the Indochina Market itself and the other is on the Mukdhan - Don Tan Road.

I don't know what is up with this but there are way more Top Charoen stores than this city needs. I have my ideas but an not sure. Is this happening in any other cities? I would love to hear it until then I will just chalk it up to a mystery. I have included a map of all the locations so you can see how close they are together. There is also a gallery of all the locations. I included every one but the one in Lotus since you aren't allowed to take photographs in their stores.

As I find more locations I will update the page in hopes of unraveling the mystery.

View Top Charoen Mukdahan in a larger map

Below is a gallery of the Top Charoen Branches in Mukdhan. Click on a thumbnail for bigger images (I hope you like shocking blue and white.)

Top Charoen # 1   Top Charoen # 3   Top Charoen # 4

Top Charoen # 5   Top Charoen # 6   Top Charoen # 7

Top Charoen # 8


Anonymous said...

This is true all over Thailand. Even way back in the 80's I came across a TC store on an otherwise deserted road in Koh Samui. As for the Mukdahan stores I seldom see anyone inside buying anything. What is going on here? No store can remain open unless it produces a profit.

Anonymous said...

From Anonymous #2: Why do you assume that they do not produce a profit? I have over the years bought 2 pairs of progressive bifocals and a pair of sunglasses from them. They lasted for years. All the employees often referred to as 'eye candy' seem to have university degrees in optometry posted on the wall.

One could also ask why there are 5 gold shops on the same block often with no visible customers ... and I do not think that they are franchises. Maybe the TCO people after 50 years just understand their market and customer buying habits better than you do.

Anonymous said...

Yes, here in Trang the same is going on. 8 shps more in the last 2 yaers.

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