Unravelling some unusual ware

Unravelling some unusual ware

In Business

‘Sab and Sons’The bazar consists of small shops built on either side of a narrow lane called Chandni Chowk Road. Some of them are no more than tin sheds, their roofs piled high with spare car parts and scrap metal. Other slightly more pristine establishments bear neatly painted and numbered signs, declaring the name of the shop and what they sell.

‘This market started around 80 or 100 years ago,’ says S Amjad, who owns an ‘army and general store’ called ‘Sab and Sons’. Amjad explains that when his father opened the store, about 50 years ago, most of the shops in the area sold bullock carts and wheels.

Now, they have switched to automobile parts and motors. Unlike these scrap dealers, Ajmad’s shop specialises in selling military equipment: uniforms for the army, police and navy, combat boots and tarpaulins. His stock is sourced mostly from Delhi and Punjab.
‘Sometimes dealers bring us the equipment, but more often we have to travel to these places to buy them,’’ he says.

Ajmad receives bulk orders for shoes and tarpaulins from people he calls ‘defence customers’, as well as demands for safety uniforms and protective boots for factory workers. He makes a 15 to 20 per cent profit on most of his items. Not all the shopkeepers at the bazar are as talkative as Ajmad. Wasim, who runs a shop that sells scrap metal, is more reticent, perhaps because of the dubious nature of his sourcing methods. However, Naeem Khan, who owns a store called ‘Prestige Auto Accessories’, was more than willing to discuss his business. He started the store himself, about 20 years ago, and sells mostly car seats, covers and tyres. Naeem frankly admits that he sources his stock from the scrap dealers, and sells them at a profit of about Rs 200 or Rs 300. He claims that he repairs all these items, ensuring that they are in perfect condition before he puts them up for sale.

Kubra, who runs ‘Azeez Stores’, specialises in stationary. “My grandfather opened this shop 98 years ago,” she says, proudly, adding that along with notepaper and dictionaries, they also sell textbooks, guides and copies of the Koran. ‘The Korans are sourced from Delhi,’ she says, ‘But the other items come from City Market, near Majestic Hotel.”

Kubra claims that when schools are open, the shop earns her anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000.

Another unusual store on the lane is ‘Choughmul Mangilal’s Pawn Brokers’. Prabhu, who runs the store on the behalf of the owner, says that they accept only gold and silver jewellery, and that the going rate varies according to the quality of the metal.

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