CTC Showroom: Providing the tools for cooking & dining enjoyment
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Ann Lee
7, Alley 13, Lane 213, JhongShan Rd Sec 4, Taiping City, Taichung County; (04) 2395-2111
Hours: 8:30 am-5:30 pm
Credit cards not accepted, customer have access to parking lot.
* From Taichung City: Head west on JingWu Rd (which intersects ShuangShi and GongYuan rds at Taichung Park). After crossing the JingWu Bridge into Taiping city, this becomes JhongShan Rd Section 4. About 50 meters down, at the second traffic light, turn right onto the first small lane (#213) and the shop will be on your left.
You might consider plates, dishes and bowls an afterthought, simple tools for preparing and consuming food. However, this mentality completely changes after a visit to CTC's showroom store, which is quite literally the gateway to a vast range of table and kitchen ware from every corner of the globe and every price range.
Central Taiwan's largest tableware wholesaler, CTC has been around for 32 years and is the authorized head dealer of the Taiwanese Ta-Tung porcelain. Walk into any large or small retailer selling these products in Greater Taichung and there's a very good chance that many of their products originated at CTC. However, the company has taken a whole new direction under the creative guidance of its young general manager, Carey Chen, who returned from 13 years in Australia to run his family business three years ago.
Opening a showroom store 18 months ago was a first big step towards directly reaching customers, including individuals, restaurants, hotels, gift shops and other establishments, which can shop from a huge selection of 40,000 products for prices that on average are 10~20% cheaper than regular retailers, with further discounts available for larger quantities.
Area 1, the attractive two-level store is the tip of CTC's product iceberg. While the company specializes in porcelain and chinaware, one can also find all manner of glass, crystal, pottery, lacquerware, bamboo, metal and other products, including complete Western and Asian dining sets, tea sets , coffee tools and individual mugs, glasses, vases, pitchers, serving and salad bowls and much more. There are about 40-50 brands, including low-priced Chinese-style dish sets from Taiwan's well-known Tatung, Japanese dining and tea sets, Czech and Italian crystal, Vietnamese Apex official porcelain, American Corelle & Corningware dishes, Thailand Zebra kitchenware and custom-designed, limited-edition porcelain sets from Taiwanese artists (more about this in the Oct. edition).
However, there's much, much more. A door leads down a hall with branching alleys lined with multiple display cases. This Area 2 exhibits professional products and equipment used by restaurants and hotels, including varies sized metal kitchenware, silverware, wooden tableware, all-purpose melamine dishware, Japanese-style dishware, cookery pots, cleaning products, chef suits and all sorts of kitchen related products. The corridor then in turn leads to yet another large, 35-ping room containing CTC's clearance sale area (this Area 3 is popular with foreign shoppers, Carey notes), featuring hundreds of unbeatable bargains, like stacks of bowls and plates starting from NT$5 dollars each.
According to the GM, CTC is a relaxing shopping environment for tableware either in bulk or specially ordered products. "I'd like to put a new spirit into this industry," says Carey. The goal here goes far beyond basic retail. CTC provides a wide range of consulting services to its customers, such as advice/assistance to new business owners regarding dishware choices, uniforms, PDA wireless ordering systems and interior decor. He also aims to be a one-stop-shop for tableware needs in order to infect individuals with new fun and excitement about dining healthy at home.