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Friday, April 19 2024
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Bengaluru

Big Kids Kemp shuts its doors for the last time

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Bengaluru: Staying relevant in a world where everyone has the attention span of no more than 30 seconds – a world plagued by impatient people who want to move on to the next best thing as soon as humanly possible – is an absolute feat and a remarkable achievement.

Big Kids Kemp is one such store which succeeded where others had failed. Unfortunately, the mega clothing and toy store has decided to voluntarily go the way of the dodo.

The store was a hit among common folk as well as prominent personalities such as Politician G Janardhana Reddy’s family, actor Ravichandran and the Rajkumar family who came in to the store quite often.

The store’s colourful mascots and their vibrant merchandise have been around since the 1990 and attracted children and adults alike.

The store recently had a flaming sale where virtually everything was sold at 75 per cent below the marked price, signaling the beginning of the end for the beloved store. No more flailing mascots and no more bright children’s faces.

The 79-year-old proprietor, Vashi J Melwani, recounted how all the naysayers doubted the viability of the store. “Even my dealers and suppliers had doubts about how I would sustain the business,” he said adding that no one had ever dreamed of opening a similar store in the country at that time also admitting that there were times when even he doubted himself.

Despite all the doubts and discouragement, Big Kids Kemp went on to become a landmark in the city. Long queues would form outside the store in just the first week of moving to Trinity Circle. The store’s four clowns and the merchandise made the people curious and drew them to the store.

Adults and kids alike, were also known to take the bus just so they could catch a glimpse of the clowns performing outside the store and the crowds got thicker every time one of the big names entered the store to shop.

Although it may seem like a decision from out of the blue, the decision had been in the making for five years. Deciding to close the store was a matter of practicality, and therefore Melwani announced to his staff that the store would be closing its shutters for the last time.

The Melwani’s sacrificed a lot to grow their business, starting with pawning his mother’s diamond earrings to open the Kiddie’s Corner store on Commercial Street in the year 1948 after which, in 1985, he decided to branch out and open Kids Kemp at KG Road.

A few years later, in 1990, he decided that he would require a larger space to fully utilise the potential of the store and so, with a loan of Rs 1.4 crore from Vijaya Bank, he bought the property, measuring a total of 17000 sq ft built in area (first and ground floors combined) at Trinity Circle. “Today the property can fetch anywhere between Rs 30 to 40 crores,” he said adding that they have already heard from interested parties. He then said that they planned to either lease out the property or a mall would take its place.

Speaking about the future of the employees of Big Kids Kemp, he gave his assurance that they would find jobs at Kemp Fort or Favourite Shop which is run by his cousin.

Big Kids Kemp shuts its doors for the last time

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