Thursday, June 22, 2023

Landmark on the left

It started life as a small shop south of the 'periya gate' - the gated railway crossing between Kodambakkam and Nungambakkam - in 1952. Buildings did not go beyond the ground floor then and S. Chandrasekaran thought a small shop, with a sign over the entrance would suffice for the business he wanted to run. But he must also have been a thoughtful man, and probably one who was a little more learned than his contemporaries. 

He did not go with the norm of naming his store "Sekar Dresses" or "Sekar Clothing". In choosing the word 'Emporium' to go with his name, he was signalling his ambition to expand. Within a couple of decades, it did expand. More storeys were added to the building and it filled out a little more. For all the variety that Ranganathan Street, or Pondy Bazaar, across the Kodambakkam Bridge (the railroad was now traversed by a bridge, rather than a gate) had to offer, Sekar Emporium was the place to shop for residents of Kodambakkam and further south. 

It has grown to be a true emporium, offering much more than just textiles or dress materials. Cloth remains the mainstay, but the firm has branched off into groceries and consumer durables as well. All of those are around this building where it all started. The Sekar brand has not expanded geographically; with the third generation of the family now managing the business, they well might now. However, having stayed at this spot for over 70-years, it has outlived even the Liberty Cinema as the landmark for directions to Kodambakkam and beyond!


No comments: