From the Viewsroom

Rediscovering the kirana store

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on March 31, 2020 Published on April 01, 2020

The lockdown has brought back business to the door of corner shops

As long queues extended onto the road from large retail shops, in the aftermath of the 21-day lockdown announcement, the saviour for many residents was the kirana store at the end of the street. While they too had long queues on the night of the lockdown announcement, in the days that followed, the corner shops managed to regain lost ground with their personal touch. A service many had begun to forget, wherein the friendly neighbourhood store checked on individual requirements and reached it across to residents, was back in favour.

Over the years, local stores that stocked a gazillion odd-ball things, from bread and biscuits to locally-ground masalas, toys etc had been edged out of the popularity list by large retailers with their swank ambience and exotic products. Multi-grain breads, imported blueberries and organic products from large retailers found their way into more homes.

But the corner shop stood its own, modernising as best as it could by stocking up products that could bring back their much-travelled customers. So, to already cluttered spaces, the corner shop added products like slim milks, probiotic curd, multiple brands of cereals and oats, etc.

And then came the lockdown that forced people to rediscover their corner store. The stores, too, have been nimble-footed in their response, adapting to the new normal. For instance, home deliveries to multiple people are now made as a single bulk order, often placed at the gateway of residences. Those visiting the store are made to stand outdoors in circles marked out and distanced, to not fall foul of the law.

In the recent past, large food retailers have been increasing their presence across large cities, reducing the footprint of the neighbourhood store. But when societies recover from the coronavirus experience, customers need to not forget the corner shop that saw them through the hard times.

The writer is Deputy Editor with BusinessLine

Published on April 01, 2020

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