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army market
army market


In Singapore, every able-bodied boy has to go through a rite of passage in which they grow from a boy to becoming a man. That rites of passage were known as National Service, or more commonly known as NS. Singaporean Sons will remember making the trip down to Beach Road in order to visit the famous Army Market in order to shop for any supplies that they may need before leaving for NS. With some shops opening as early as 10am to cater to the early birds that is looking forward to having breakfast after buying army supplies, and some shops closing as late as midnight to cater to those who needed to make last minute purchases. Beach Road Army Market was the one stop place in order to get anything army related.

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Army Shops

army market
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Golden Mile Food Centre (or Beach Road Hawker Centre)

It was created in 1975 in order to house the hawkers that had settled from Jalan Sultan Street Market. Although Golden Mile Food Centre is predominantly known as a place to enjoy delicious food, it was, and still is, more commonly known as 'Beach Road Army Market', ‘The Army Market’ or simply 'Beach Road' due to the sheer amount of army shops that is located above the Beach Road food court itself. Generations of Singaporean Sons will know how iconic The Army Market was, due to the fact that Beach Road Army Market had established itself as a group of army supply shops, with many of the products sold being exclusive to The Army Market.

505 Beach Road

The Army Market enjoyed its Golden Age during the 1990's, when the older generation of NSmen and Reservists knew that the Army Market was the best place to go in order to get spare or replacement items on a last minute basis, in order to avoid the signing of the infamous SAF 1206 (pronounced as twelve-O-six), which is the formal, signed acknowledgement for the deduction of an NSmen’s payroll for the loss or damage of equipment.

There even used to be a time when The Army Market stocked ‘weird’ and ‘useful’ items, but that time has passed, and now The Army Market has 'washed its hands', stocking only state and military legal items.

The Army Market is jam-packed with approximately 111 shops that sell army equipment such as the shemagh, Condor tactical gear, morale patches, military dog tags, gregory packs, army boots, Swiss army knives, and SAF ranks. Including camping gear such as a tent, camping bags, and sleeping bags for the occasional camper or trekker. Also, if you know how to bargain, you might also get certain items for a cheaper price.

Apart from these, The Army Market also sells miscellaneous products, such as casual t-shirts and custom name tags. They also cater to the various uniform groups in the primary and secondary schools in Singapore, where students usually go there to sew on their name tags and Singapore army ranks, or even to buy spare jockey caps. It is a one-stop destination where you can buy stuff for the needs of SAF guys, school uniformed units, and tourists all under one roof. Most of their products, like electrical items, are imported primarily from Thailand and China. There are even shops that provide watch repair and electrical services.

However, the Beach Road Army Market has long lost its title of being Singapore's main location for army supply shops. The introduction of the eMart SAF online by the Singapore Armed Forces since 1997 has allowed NSmen and Reservists the option of getting their army equipment at more accessible and convenient locations, with the use of credits that will be given as an alternative to paying cash. Also, with the closure of Beach Road Army Camp nearby, the Army Market had lost its main target audience. To this day, students from uniform groups still visit Beach Road Army Market, but with that being such a small percentage, the loss of the shop owner's businesses is apparent.

Despite these drawbacks, the Army Market still has people from all over the island, and even tourists visiting the market, either for products and services that other smaller Army Shops or even Chevron eMart or NS eMart offer, or just looking for products that are sold at a cheaper price as compared to other places. The external competition that Beach Road Army Market is facing is too overwhelming.


Army Shops Singapore

Through a wide range of shops located at The Army Market, the operational hours vary for each shop. However, most of the shops would have a standard operating time of 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Other shops could open as early as 10am and close as late as 8pm. Not to mention, a few of the shops would be closed on certain days as well.

All in all, the Army Market is one of the most iconic, yet underrated places in Singapore. It is considered a real gem in the minds of most people who have seen the Beach Road Army Market since its humble beginnings. It would be a shame for such a place with such a history, going through the obstacles and challenges it went through, to bow out of business just because of other smaller businesses rising.

This place is a good destination to shop for hiking and army items. Prices here can be bargained, and it is one of the best places to get gadgets and apparel for outdoor activities. There is plenty of food available here to fill up your stomach if you are hungry.

Beach Road food centre

Hitch Hikers 57

Still open after 6pm. I got there around 7pm. I got the name stitched in about an hour. I had a great dinner in the food centre. After dinner, the name is stitched. Fast and convenient.

 family_travel_d2018 about The Army Market

Beach Road Hawker Centre

The market's proximity to the former headquarters of various uniformed organisations such as the Singapore Volunteer Corps (or People's Defence Force), the Singapore Military Forces, the Boys Brigade, St John's, as well as the Beach Road Camp, which housed several SAF units and was used for military training, could explain the concentration of such shops.

The Beach Road Army Market began by selling army paraphernalia to National Servicemen, Operationally Ready NSmen (who came to the shops for supplies for their in-camp training), and secondary and tertiary uniform groups from the National Cadet Corps at cheap prices.

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