In 2001, Griet Lorré founded The Shop on Phnom Penh’s iconic Street 240. The idea was simple.
“I wanted to create a place where people could come and chat, relax and enjoy good food and drinks, but there was nothing like that in Phnom Penh at the time. On Street 240, away from the bustle of the city, I found the perfect setting: this colonial-era building where we opened our first outlet.”
Over the years Griet added The Chocolate Shop 240 two doors down from The Shop 240, then the Toul Kork outlet, followed by a second The Chocolate Shop on Street 63, and finally, in 2013, The Shop 102 at Central Mansions.
Griet says the staff are integral to the group’s success. “Our customers are very important of course,” she says, “but our staff are too – and you can see that in their loyalty to the group.”
On average, each of the more than 100 staff has been with the group for more than five years, and some since the very beginning in 2001.
“And that’s because we train people so that they can rise to senior positions, everyone shares in the profits, and they get excellent health insurance,” she says. “It’s a great work environment, and people really feel part of a family. It’s something special.”
The Shop Group is also a much-loved part of the Phnom Penh community serving both Cambodians and expatriates; they are, Griet says, “the bedrock of our success”.
“Something else I’ve noticed in recent years is that, as tourism to Cambodia has climbed into the millions, and as the influence of social media has grown, many more tourists are visiting our outlets,” she says. “And they spread the word through TripAdvisor and Facebook, which makes a difference.”
Since The Shop Group started in 2001, says Griet, the city has expanded fast – as have the number of competitors.
“But our excellent reputation has allowed our group to grow steadily each year,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to continuing that for the next 15 years and beyond.”