Bengaluru's first iconic department store Nilgiris to relocate

Bengaluru's first iconic department store Nilgiris to relocate

Bengaluru's first iconicdepartment store Nilgiris to relocate

The first Nilgiris supermarket, a well-known landmark on Brigade Road, will move out of the space it has occupied for over 80 years.

The store will shift to the Monarch building on the opposite side of the road by the end of this month.

Kumaravelu, director of Nineteen O Five Retail Pvt Ltd, who runs the store, said that the new owner of the building wanted to renovate it and asked them to vacate it. His grandfather, A Muthuswami Mudaliar had started Nilgiris in 1905 in Tamil Nadu. Later, the family shifted to Bengaluru, opening the first store on Brigade Road in 1939.

Shifting out is going to be emotional for Kumaravelu, who spent a majority of his life in the store. "In the beginning, it was a small shop with a counter in front. We used to bake goods right here. My father used to say that sometimes we would sleep here but I don't remember this," Kumaravelu said. After he completed SSLC, he joined the family full-time in running the business. In the early 70s, a new building, where the store is located now, was built in place of the old store. Kumaravelu recollects that the business never stopped, as they took up the construction in stages.

In 1972, his father decided to bring something new to Bengaluru.

"My father visited a few foreign countries and saw self-service department stores there. When he came back, he decided to start one here. People used to come all the way even from Mysuru to shop from here," Kumaravelu said. Others later picked up the concept from them and opened such supermarkets.

"We have many fourth and fifth generation customers. But many of our original patrons are now too old to come here. Since there are many franchises, people prefer to go to the closest one," he said.

The majority stake in the company was sold to a private firm in 2005.

Kumaravelu said they plan to have a grand reopening once the store shifts to its new premises.

They intend to add more variety of products, have a cake counter, and make some changes at the cash counter.


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