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Novel shopping experience

Nilgiris and Higginbothams join hands to offer a new shopping experience



Books and bites ... `Cho' Ramaswamy at Nilgiris-Higinbothams, Alwarpet

A CAFETERIA inside a bookshop you've come across. A pharmacy within the confines of a department store, you are used to. But a place that has everything from pulses to toiletries, beverages to short eats and confectionery to cosmetics — and an impressive bookstore to boot, is a novelty. That's exactly what you have at the just opened Nilgiris, at No. 29, C. P. Ramaswamy Road, near Alwarpet. Armed with the seven-year experience of helming a Nilgiris store at T. Nagar,K.R.V. Ramani, its managing director, is all set to make his franchisee outlets, the new Nilgiris and the Higginbothams aligned to it, a veritable landmark in the area.

Niche for books

"When you have a reputed name backing you, half the battle is won," smiles Ramani. He is referring to both Nilgiris and Higginbothams. How did he think of a bookshop along with a department store? "My dad ran New Southern Law House — a book shop (it's still functioning), and I used to be part of it even as a boy, carrying the books that had to be delivered to lawyers and auditors, on my bicycle ... though I am into home needs and am a hotelier (Ramani is the MD of Quality Inn Sabari, T. Nagar), I always had a penchant for dealing in books. So when the basement space was available, I said `why not?'" says Ramani.

S. Chandrashekar, executive director, Higginbothams, has been instrumental in making this alluring annexe to Nilgiris possible. In fact, Higginbothams has been with Ramani throughout the process of setting up the shop. In the basement, the neatly stacked and well-displayed books on a wide range of subjects beckon book lovers to a comfortable shopping experience.

Wide variety

"In another fortnight we intend to have a completely equipped Law books section and an extended children's books segment," says Ramani. "The demand for children's books is immense. We are planning an exhibition of exclusive children's reading material, which will be followed by other such category-wise ventures," informs P. S. Rajkumar, manager at Higginbothams, Anna Salai, who is overseeing things at the new place. "All the books (academics to fiction) that you get at the Anna Salai store, you'll get here too. If you have 20 copies there you'll find at least two here," assures Ramani. And even if the book you need is not stocked, they get it for you at the earliest.

Aesthetic statement

Optimum utility of the 2500 sq. ft. of shopping area is a noteworthy aspect of the twin store. "We are open all the days of the week and we don't close for lunch either... the break is taken in turns," says Aruna Ramani, its director."Quality shopping in a neat ambience is Nilgiris' major draw," feels Ramani.The spotless, cream-coloured walls with corrugated spiral ducts on the ceiling make an aesthetic statement. "And none of the items on the shelves are kept for more than a day or two. We stock the minimum amount and keep replenishing it constantly,"Ramani says. Does Nilgiris cater more for the upper classes? "You wouldn't say that if you'd noticed the number of two wheelers outside," says Ramani. "The variety of brands and the range offer a wide choice. We have more than 12, 000 products," Aruna points out.

Arrangements are afoot for a roof garden above the shop, where chaat varieties will be served. So while shopping for your home if you are in a mood to relax with eats or browse through the books and pick up a couple, this joint offers choices aplenty.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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