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Brown set to perk up Siem Reap market

Customers relax at one of the many Brown Cafes in Central Phnom Penh last year.
Customers relax at one of the many Brown Cafes in Central Phnom Penh last year. Eli Meixler

Brown set to perk up Siem Reap market

Brown Coffee and Bakery will make its first foray outside the capital and open a new outlet later this year in tourist-heavy Siem Reap.

The home-grown coffee chain will unveil its first Siem Reap cafe in early June, with Chang Bunleang, co-founder of Brown, saying that the location was being kept a secret in order to “surprise” patrons there.

“We thought this was the right time to go because people in Siem Reap know more about Brown now than they did a few years ago,” he said.

The coffee sector, Bunleang said, had become increasingly competitive in Cambodia since Brown’s launch in 2009, and finding the ideal location was getting “a bit more difficult”.

“But it is also a plus to have more coffee shops coming in because it will encourage more Cambodians to drink coffee and the number of coffee customers will increase,” he said.

According to Bunleang, while a lot of coffee shops target tourist footfalls, Brown’s Siem Reap branch would look to attract locals as well, given the high number of Cambodians visiting their Phnom Penh outlets.

Following its Siem Reap opening, the company plans to open a cafe in Battambang next year, Bunleang said, adding that an outlet in Siem Reap will make opening the proposed cafe a lot easier.

Brown will also continue to expand in Phnom Penh, where it currently operates 10 outlets. The company plans to add three new outlets this year, he said.

Adam Rodwell, owner and founder of Little Red Fox Espresso in Siem Reap, said he was unperturbed by the prospect of Brown opening a branch in the temple town.

He said in the 18 months since his cafe opened many other coffee shops had entered the market.

“Competition can be a good thing when they’re doing what they’re doing and we’re doing what we’re doing, and there is enough space for everybody,” he said.

Rodwell said there was a conspicuous increase in coffee consumption by Cambodian patrons in Siem Reap, who were looking beyond the traditional iced coffee options to more Western-styles of coffee making.

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