Tue, Aug 22, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Canvas store bags new business, draws tourists

By Huang Ming-tang  /  Staff reporter

A canvas store in Taitung that has been in business for 60 years has been saved by deciding to sell canvas tote bags tailored to foreign visitors.

The Tung Chang Canvas Store (東昌帆布行) had been in decline for some time, said store owner Wang Ke-hsiao (王克孝), whose parents opened the store when they moved from Haulien to Taitung. However, now it is often filled with tourists wanting to buy a NT$100 canvas tote bag, Wang said.

The store initially sold customized canvas items, such as window awnings, construction tarps or drop sheets to dry grains in the sun, Wang said.

However, business declined with demand, he said.

Wang said he began making tote bags from left-over canvas.

The colorful bags cost NT$100 to NT$150.

A woman in the store said the bags are cheap, good quality and have a retro style.

“I thought I would sell two per day, making NT$200 to buy things for my grandchildren,” Wang said, adding he never imagined that the bags would be so popular.

The store is frequented by tourists from Japan and Hong Kong and some people buy the bags in bulk to resell, Wang said.

Wang said he is very careful about maintaining quality, so all seams are sewn twice for strength. Sometimes changes are made to the bags according to customers’ requests, he added.

The bags have become so popular with Japanese visitors that Japan’s NHK interviewed Wang, and a Japanese travel magazine called the bags a “local specialty of Taitung.”

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