Press Corner with the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee

Alvin Wong - Apple Daily (Translated by Melanie Wan)

In couple of months, Press Corner will be celebrating its second anniversary. After more than one year in the business the partners of this cafeteria have learnt the hardship of running a small business in Hong Kong. We came up with this plan for a cafeteria, worked hard on it – to the point of exhaustion. The travails and triumphs are difficult to describe to an outsider.

As many would already know, real estate developers in Hong Kong have a heavy hand on our economy, pushing up land and property prices. So running a small shop at a central location in the city comes with a hefty rent in five to six digits a month. There are shops at cheaper rates, but those will have fewer people passing by. We struck a balance between cost and location, and next found ourselves facing another set of problems from licensing to other mandatory requirements. It was a race against time after the contract was signed. We started to burn our money on rent as we started up to design and decorate the shop, buy furniture, install facilities, and pile up stocks. This took two to three months before the grand opening. So when we came across news reports by fellow journalists concerning unlicensed food premises, we understood their concerns.

Like many cafeteria, Press Corner cannot survive the high cost of running its business without adopting a down to the earth approach. We chose a site on the first floor of a building located in a small avenue Yin Chong Street lying at the margin of Mongkok. We are therefore always being asked the question: “Where is Yin Chong Street?” and we always say: “It is a small street between Kwong Wah Street and Fa Yuen Street, behind Empire Theatre”.

The name “Press Corner” was inspired by the tiny niches usually found at National Day Celebration Receptions and “small circle”elections where only a humiliating tiny niche to practice press freedom is given to the media. So Press Corner has no grand decorations, no celebrity customers. The freshly brewed coffee and the Swiss chicken wings are, however, painstakingly prepared by our reporters-turnedchefs, who are more used to work with their pens and cameras. Here at Press Corner, fellow reporters can relax after a day's hard work, sharing news and information in an environment of total freedom.

Since our opening we have had good times and bad times. Good times – not many, to be frank – when the house was full; bad times when no customer turned up. In fact, there have been more fellow photographers coming over to send photos back to their newsrooms, and getting back to work after a short rest. There were also reporters who made appointments with their interviewees here. This is precisely the purpose for Press Corner, a club for the journalists, a “den” for us to the occasional need to hide away. Next time you think of having a “cuppa”, think of the Press Corner. It will be most rewarding for you and us.

About Press Corner
Address:1/F., 25, Yin Chong Street, Mongkok
Opening hours:4 pm to 2 am, closed on Tuesdays
Entertainments:free WiFi, Wii, PS, live England Super League
Our partners:Addie Lam(TVB), Cody Wong(Apple Daily), Alvin Wong(Apple Daily), Chris Chu(Shanghai TV), Octavia Siu(ex-Oriental Daily, full time managing the cafe), Mr. L(a local newspaper)

Tel:2217 7862