Popular restaurant and bakery chain The Blue Pumpkin is stepping up to financially support the Tennis Federation of Cambodia in its developmental projects and on-going initiatives.
The Blue Pumpkin founder Arnaud Curtat says he respects the time and dedication spent by the TFC to achieve Davis Cup status.
A time-bound partnership deal between The Blue Pumpkin and the TFC will be formalised in March. Managing Director of the 12-restaurant chain Arnaud Curtat told the Post in an exclusive interview yesterday that Blue Pumpkin will not only support TFC financially, but will also promote the Federation’s activities through their own network.
While welcoming The Blue Pumpkin as the Federation’s newest partner, TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit described the alliance as a fresh impetus for tennis growth in Cambodia.
“It is a reaffirmation of the faith the business community has in the Federation’s work,” said Tep Rithivit.
Here are excerpts from Post sports reporter H S Manjunath’s interview with Siem Reap-based Arnaud Curtat.
Can you elaborate on the partnership deal?
The Blue Pumpkin (TBP) will support the TFC financially, and will help promote its activities and success through the TBP’s network of outlets: distribution of the TFC newsletter, standing banners, promotions, leaflets.
Will you choose a project or a programme, or is it general support for the TFC?
It is a time-bound offer, but it can be renewed. It is a general support with a focus on the National Training Centre, which is the root of the success.
High quality training is what makes champions and it comes at a cost. A good training environment is the first step to success. This is where we can help.
Are you familiar with the recent developments in Cambodian tennis?
Yes, and the greatest news is their Davis Cup debut in April. This qualification didn’t come overnight, it is the result of years of commitment and effort that has led to excellent results in last SEA Games, and now the Davis Cup. However, this is certainly not the apogee of the TFC, but rather the beginning of a new era.
How long have you been taking interest in Cambodian tennis?
I know Tep Rithivit, the Secretary General of TFC, through business acquaintances for many years, but was not aware of his tremendous effort promoting Cambodian tennis. It is just recently that we had a chance to talk about tennis and the TFC, and the enthusiasm of Tep Rithivit, explaining me the great story behind the Federation and the success on international level, just convinced me to become a partner.
What is it that drives you to support tennis?
I never played tennis in my life and I am not knowledgeable about tennis at all. But I can see the potential of Cambodian tennis on the international scene, and knowing it started from scratch in 1992, I can only be admirable of their tenacity and efforts, which is something I am very sensitive about.
How well do you think tennis will impact your chain?
I can see a parallel between TBP and Cambodian tennis. TBP started 11 years ago with merely one staff, in a small shop in Siem Reap. My wife and myself were working from dusk till dawn, doing everything by ourselves.
Our efforts started to pay off, and we were proposed to run a coffee shop at Siem Reap International Airport in 2002. We now have nine outlets in Siem Reap and three in Phnom Penh, with one production center in each city.
We are now perceived as a “Cambodian international brand” and we can easily compete with imported franchise brands. This is where our partnership can only be beneficial, mutually, for both TFC and TBP
Can you briefly touch on your business profile?
TBP started in 2000, with one small shop in Siem Reap. We started to produce and sell bakery goods in 2001, targeting also business (hotels and restaurants). We then extended our production facility in 2003.
We set up a shop in Siem Reap, in front of Angkor Wat, in partnership with Artisans d’Angkor, and in town. We partnered with Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap to manage all their F&B activities.
In 2010, we changed our status to be an incorporated company, welcoming Alain Dupuis in our capital.