Provision shop

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A provision shop is a type of grocers' or goods retailer found in Singapore. Provision shops are the rough equivalent of the British corner shop.


Provision shops are run by Chinese folk in neighbourhood estates. They can be roughly divided into 2 types, listed below.


These provision shops sell groceries and goods ranging from crisps to magazines. Some have been modernized, with bright fluorescent lighting and refrigerated goods. The design of others hark back to the 1980s or 1990s, dimly lit and crammed with goods.

A feature unique to these provision shops was the tin can cash register system. A single tin can (often a green Milo tin) and a counterweight would be suspended from the ceiling of the shop, and the shopkeeper would pull the can down to deposit money in it. Though superseded by modern cash registers or calculators, the tin can system is still used in older-style provision shops.


The concept of a provision shop appears to be more modern. These shops do not sell perishables, instead stocking up on household goods like bulbs, stationery, a small selection of hardware tools, cassettes and blank optical media, and perhaps a small shelf of cheap toys.

See also[edit]

  • Mama shop, a smaller shop selling groceries and magazines, typically located in HDB void decks and run by South Asians.