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 In line with the efforts of George Town World Heritage Incorporated, the new POPULAR Komtar Bookstore incorporated motifs of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of its design, with a specially designed logo that featured Komtar, the fishing nets of Penang’s fishing villages, a map featuring a World Heritage trail, and the hexagonal elements of the Komtar Auditorium. Displayed above the heads of customers was a network of World Heritage locations, whereas the walls were decorated with relevant images, immersing customers in the mysterious allure of this historic area as they browsed the shelves. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on in 2021, the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore was forced to close down again due to the reorganisation of resources within Popular Malaysia. The historic store had withstood 6 - popularnews 139 ups and downs over 30 years, working tirelessly, and making great contributions to POPULAR’s development in Penang. Even though the lights have gone out at the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore, there are still five POPULAR Bookstores in Penang, including the flagship store in Gurney Plaza, and those in Queensbay Mall, Lotus Hypermarket, Sunway Carnival Mall, and AEON MALL Bukit Mertajam, that will continue to serve the people of Penang. A Fond Farewell With news of the store’s closure on 28 November 2021, a wave of surprise swept through the media. Reporters from major newspapers came to interview Teh Ai Ling, Popular Malaysia’s Area Manager of Penang and Kedah, and customers of all races expressed their hope that this iconic bookstore would not be closing for good. Leading a group of officials that included Tourism and Creative Economy Committed Chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, and Special Officer to Chief Minister of Penang Lau Keng Ee to take a final look at Komtar Shopping Centre on 19 November 2021, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow expressed his regret for the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore closure to Ai Ling. He also recounted his good memories of The Rocket being sold just outside and called on the customers to support the POPULAR Komtar store before the shutters come down for the final time. On the morning of 26 November 2021, the Komtar POPULAR Bookstore received an apology letter, a copy of The Biggest & Best Football Annual Match Annual 2000, and RM30 in cash. The sender expressed remorse that he had stolen the book from the bookstore 20 years ago and apologised, having felt troubled and guilty for years. When 28 November 2021 finally arrived, it was a sad day of farewells for many booklovers. Many wrote heartfelt messages and left them at the front of the store. Many of our customers also spoke to our Marketing colleagues about their feelings after hearing about the store’s closure. Among them, long-time POPULAR customers Tham Tze Neen and Ng Kha Mooi remarked that they loved the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore’s environment and would purchase CDs every month as it had become difficult to find CD stores on the market. Another regular customer, Chong Choy Wan, had frequented the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore with friends for over 20 years, and made a special mention of the POPULAR staff’s friendly service. The five former employees who had dubbed themselves “Popular Kumar Girls” – Kang Gim Har, Chou You Chan, Ong Soo Hooi, Cheng Phaik Inn, and Leong Sook Cheng – “came home” to visit Ai Ling, taking pictures together and remembering yesteryear, in celebration of the glory days of the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore. Eventually, the last of the customers, a mother and daughter pair, took their leave. Night fell and the shutters came rolling down. Our colleagues recorded videos and took photos as the closing ceremony went underway. Even though the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore was now closed, it would live on in the hearts of every one of our colleagues and customers. 

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