Native medicines, pooja articles

Name of the shop: Sri Lakshmi Nattu Marundhu Kadai
Address: 36/40, North Mada Street, Mylapore.
Phone: 7299918937, 7299018937
Owner: Mahalakshmi S
Timings: 10 am to 9 pm on all days.

This is a four-year-old shop which sells medicinal powders and native drugs.

Mahalakshmi, the shop owner, says she prepares bath powder, shikakai powder, prasava podi, manjal podi, kasturi manjal podi and kumkumam on her own. “The products are in their purest form,” she adds.

Herbs like sukku, thippili, athimathuram, chitharathai, powders of these herbs, varieties of thailams, lehyams and chooranams are sold here.

Branded Siddha and Ayurvedic medicines and herbal tablets are also available here.

A variety of puja items like sambrani, agarbathi and aromatic thiraviyams are sold here. People can also head to this shop to buy homam needs.

Digital payment is accepted.

By V. Soundararani

Plants nursery, garden accessories

Name of the shop: Mylapore Sakthi Garden
Address: 10, Subbarayan Salai, (off Dr Ranga Road), Mylapore.
Owner: S. Sakthivel
Phone: 9080230769, 8608807962
Timings: 9.30 am to 8 pm – on all days.

This is a 12-year-old shop which was earlier functioning near Saibaba temple. Shop owner Sakthivel has another such nursery in Adyar. His wife takes care of this shop.

This shop sells plants, soil, fertilizers, Grow bags and garden tools and accessories.

Herbal plants, native flower plants, indoor and outdoor ornamental plants and vegetable and keerai seeds are sold here. Also on sale are avenue tree saplings, fruit-bearing trees, Bonsai plants, garden soil mix, organic manure and miniature plants besides pots made of plastic, ceramic, clay and cement.

Sakthivel is a physically-challenged person. He says he sources plants from ECR nurseries every day. He also undertakes landscaping and garden maintenance services; he is assisted by two staff members. “I also guide people to set up a garden on their balcony,” says Sakthivel.

By V. Soundararani

Antique clocks, watches: repair and service

Name of the shop: Peer and Sons
Address: 127/172, Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
Owner: S. Shakil Ahmed
Phone: 9884291007
Timings: Monday to Saturday 10.30 am to 1.30 pm, 4.30 to 8.30 pm (customers to call before visiting)

Peer and Sons, established in 1963 by S. K. Peer, is into servicing and repairing of antique, vintage clocks and watches.

Run by Shakil Ahmed, the founder’s son, the shop has customers far and wide. Vintage clocks adorn the walls of the 61-year-old shop – some owned by the shop and some here for repair or servicing.

“I am a specialist in repairing any clock of the old times – be it chiming clocks or grandfather clocks with winding mechanism. All brands of watches – Rolex, Omega or Tissot are brought here for servicing,” says Shakil Ahmed, who joined the business in 1991.

Shakil adds that clock repairing demands a lot of patience. “I take it as a challenge and put my all my effort into fixing the faulty ones. Recently I repaired a Kienzle vintage clock, which other shops had given up on and this made me very happy,” he says.

Shakil Ahmed banks on discarded clocks to retrieve spare parts as not all components are available in the market.

By V. Soundararani

Laundry: roller starching, polishing, dry cleaning

Name of the shop: Rathinam Laundry
Address: 10, Chitrakulam North Street
Alamelumangapuram, Mylapore.
Owner: Jagan
Phone: 9940170838
Timings: Call the shop to fix visit – a must.

Rathinam Laundry provides roller starching, polishing, dry cleaning, washing and ironing services. There is also a pick-up and drop facility, provided the number is considerable and the distance is not too far.

Jagan suggests that neighbours can pool in and avail of his services when they seek special laundry services.

The shop is named after Jagan’s father, Rathinam, who has been running laundry services for a few decades.

Jagan has engaged a staff for ironing while he works in different places. He also runs a mobile ironing cart.

Blazers, coat / pants, shirts and sarees can be given for dry wash here. Roller polishing (starching and ironing) of cotton sarees, silk sarees and dhotis are also done. Jagan charges Rs.80 for cotton saree roller polish.

By V. Soundararani

Aluminium ladders, glass cutting, partitions

Address: 212, St. Mary’s Road, Mandaveli.
Phone: 9042380478
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 7.30 pm,
Sunday 9.30 to 12.45 pm.

Sri Sastha Aluminium and Glass sells small aluminium ladders and aluminium beadings; it also executes aluminium and glass partition work.

Ladders of heights of 4 feet and 5 feet, commonly used for internal work and repair, are available here.

The shop also delivers branded plain glasses for furniture tops and other purposes, mirrors and window glasses, as per the customers’ specifications.

The shop can deliver branded plain glasses for furniture tops and other purposes, mirrors and window glasses, cut neatly to the specifications given by the customers. Aluminium beadings are also sold.

The 24-year-old shop was first located in R. K. Mutt Road before shifting to the present location two years ago.

A 5 feet aluminium ladder costs around Rs.2800.

By V. Soundararani

Eco-friendly and disposable wares

Name of the shop: Burhani Traders
Address: 95, Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
Phone: 8072533141
Timings: 10 am to 8 pm – on all days

Burhani Traders sells eco-friendly disposable plates, plates with compartments, bowls, cups and spoons in various shapes and sizes.

The eight-year-old shop sells goods asa wholesale and retail. The goods are made from materials like areca nut leaves, mandara leaves and paper.

Materials made out of bagasse (sugarcane fibre after the juice is extracted) are also sold here.

Other things sold here include plastic carry bags, paper carry bags, wooden spoons, containers, lunch boxes, printed paper sheets and storage containers Carry bags in plastic, paper, wooden spoons, containers, lunch boxes, dispo sable paper rolls, towels, packing and wrapping materials are also sold here.

By V. Soundararani

For saplings, seeds, gardening services

Name of the shop: Leelee Nursery
Address: Mosque Street, Mandaveli.
Owner: Sheela Sekar
Phone: 9094559361
Timings: 8 am to 7.30 pm on all days (Call before visiting)

Leelee Nursery is a seven-year-old shop which moved from Venkatesa Agraharam to Mosque Street recently. A wide variety of flowering, decorative and indoor plants are sold here.

Owned by Sheela Sekar, the shop also sells rare specimens like vetpalai, vettiver, karuavuri(indigo), mahavilvam, vegetables and keerai seeds. Potting mix, vermicompost, indoor plant soil, cactus soil manure, kadalpasi for fertiliser spray and gardening accessories are available here. Sheela also delivers plants for gifting.

“I undertake landscaping work for houses and apartments in the neighbourhood,” says Sheela.

Sheela’s passion for gardening started when she was residing at the police quarters in Mylapore.

Sheela can suggest suitable soil mix for plants and share tips on what grows best in Chennai’s climate!. “There is a different soil mix for summer and for the year-end season. I suggest plants as per the growing environment and condition,” she says.

Prices of plants start from Rs.60.

By V. Soundararani

Shop for Pets’ Needs

Name of the shop: Oliver Pet Shop
Address: 6/3, 3rd Cross Street, R A Puram
Owner: Satham Hussain N.
Phone: 9841443021
Timings: All days 10 am to 10 pm. Sunday till 8 pm.

Oliver Pet Shop is a six-year-old shop which sells food, gravies, snacks and biscuits for dogs, cats, birds, fish, rabbits and hamsters.

“I am fond of cats and dogs. I worked in a pet shop for seven years before opening this shop,” says Satham Hussain, the shop owner.

The shop also sells imported cages, carriers for transporting pets, pet accessories like toys, belts, collars, chains, dresses, feeding bowls, harness, shampoos, diapers, perfumes and more.

Also, stuff needed for grooming and training the pets is sold here.

The shop also stocks milk for pets (It is different for different animals) and hand-feeding syringes for birds.

“I provide tips to pet lovers on health-related issues and on adoption and also connect abandoned pets to people who may like to house them,” says Satham Hussain: he says he feeds street dogs around his home and his shop.

By V. Soundararani

Kerala appalams, mavadu, podis

Name of shop: Pranavamm Home Needs
Address: No 24, Adam Street, Mylapore.
Owner: Pramod Balakrishnan
Phone: 9444102394
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 9 pm. Sunday – 9.30am to 1.30 pm.

Pranavamm Home Needs is a six-year-old shop which sells appalam, podis, vadagams and pickles.

“We are well known for our home-made urad appalam which are made in-house by my family,” says Pramod, the business owner.

His father, Balakrishnan managed the production and sale of appalam from home for 40 years.

The shop also sells chakkavaratti (jackfruit preserve), Palakkad mavadu, thamarathandu (lotus stem) vathal and many Kerala special items.

Pramod and brother Prasad manage this business.

“We have a loyal customer base. We supply appalam and vadagams to caterers and to the shops,” dds Pramod.

The Pranavamm brand urad appalam is priced at Rs 320 per kg.

Other products available here include sambar podi, rasam podi, Kerala tapioca appalams, ilia vadagams and varieties of pickles, thokku and ready-to-use rice paste.

“We source only home-made products that are authentic in taste and safe to consume,” says Pramod.

Delivery through courier or online services is arranged.

By V. Soundararani

Design and embroidery on Garments

Name of the shop: Arika Fashion Designing Boutique
Address: 73/2, Bheemanna Mudali 2nd Street, near Aarthi Scans, Alwarpet.
Owner: Shankar
Phone: 9751535858
Timings: 9 am to 9 pm – on all days.

This boutique executes all types of handwork, design work and embroidery for garments. Machine embroidery is also undertaken.

“We customise designs as per customers’ requirement. Our catalogues help the customers choose better,” says Shankar, who took to this field 25 years ago.

The boutique moved to the present address eight months back. “Earlier, we were a small shop in Alwarpet,” says Shankar, who claims he keeps up with the latest trends and boasts of a large clientele.

“I can create a variety of aari work for blouses, churidhar tops and sarees. The range of designs include rich-looking zardozi work with metal coated shiny threads, bead work and mirror work. I can recreate any pattern given by the customer,” he adds.

He charges Rs 2500 for a ‘good’ aari-worked blouse.

By V. Soundararani

Stationery, books, printouts

Name of the shop: Venus Stationery
Address: 83/2, Thiruvalluvarpet, St. Mary’s Road, Mandaveli
Phone: 9884874979
Owner: J Rubesh
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 to 9 p m.

Venus Stationery has a variety of notebooks, pens, pencils, files, bond papers, bill books, envelopes of all sizes, courier covers, binder clips, brushes, oil pastels, acrylic, glitter pens and crayons. Marking tapes, adhesive tapes, gift wrappers, and staplers are also available here.

Started by Rubesh three years back, the shop (near the RTO) has survived the pandemic.

“I love stationery items and also, they are non-perishable. The range of stickers we offer to children for charts has many buyers,” says Rubesh. Children’s books and colouring books are other fast-moving items.

Customers can also use photocopying, printing, scanning and lamination services available here.

By V. Soundararani

Pet pharmacy. Plus food and accessories for pets

Name of the shop: Karuppiah’s Pet Paradise
Address: 39, Musiri Subramaniyan Salai (near MFAC sabha)
Phones: 43859444, 8939802936
Owner: Muthuraman R.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 9.30 pm, Sunday – 10 am to 7.30 pm.

Karuppiah’s Pet Paradise belongs to the 46-year-old Karuppiah Pharmacy chain and is run by Raghavi Muthuraman. This five-year-old shop sells medicines, food, gravies, toys, cages, collar, belt and leash needed for the pets.

Muthuraman’s father M. Ramanathan started the Karuppiah Pharmacy chain.

“Basic food needs of birds and fishes are stocked here. Accessories for grooming the pets like shampoo, combs, brushes, paw cleaning tools, and items like diapers, training pads, panties, caps, dress, socks, shoes, muzzle are also available,” says Raghavi.

She said they have plans to launch a dog spa and grooming facilities.

By V. Soundararani

Sign boards, stickers, duplicate keys, rubber stamps

Name of the shop: Sri Stickers
Address: 35/57, R K Mutt Road (near Ramakrishna Mutt), Mylapore.
Owner: Sridhar K
Phone: ‪9840994567
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 9 pm. Sunday – 10 to 2 pm.

Sri Stickers is a 10-year-old shop. Owned by Sridhar, the shop makes sign boards for offices, businesses, hospitals and shops.

“We use evolving technologies in this field. We make LED sign boards as per the choice and needs of the customers. Consultation, installation and servicing is done by visiting the business site,” says Sridhar.

Sridhar says that use of acrylic material is the latest trend in the field. This involves fixing up letters, embossing and laser cutting work, he says.

Customers can get brass and stainless-steel boards done at Sri Stickers. A square inch of brass plate costs Rs. 30. The shop also takes orders for fixing sun control films, number plates and decorative stickers for vehicles makes rubber stamps and duplicate keys.

By V.  Soundararani

Crunchy fried peanuts, puffed rice varieties and more

Name of the shop: Kalavathi Kadalai Nilayam
Address: New 123/1, old: 64/1, RK Mutt Road, Mandaveli (Opposite Indira Childcare)
Owner: Tamilmani
Phone: ‪9884170746
Timings: Monday to Saturday 10 am to 2 pm. 4.30 to 9.30 pm.

Kalavathi Kadalai Nilayam is a 57-year-old shop. Earlier on Venkatakrishna street, the shop shifted to R K Mutt Road, 7 years back. Fried peanuts – plain and salted, uppu Kadalai, pattani Kadalai and pori – puffed grains made from rice, paddy, and aval are sold fresh in the shop.

“Customers come to us for a special variety of Kadalai without oil. We only add turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Ravi, an expert in this, visits the shop periodically for the roasting process.

The shop has an exclusive space with a chimney for this process. We use firewood for roasting and that gives a special aroma to our products,” Manjula explains.

She adds that they have a large number of customers who place orders for their roasted peanuts, to be taken abroad.

“The reviews of our products are good and that has increased our customer base,” she says.

Both thick and thin varieties of flattened white and red rice are available.

250 grams of premium quality roasted peanuts costs Rs. 70.

The shop also sells sourced items like pottukadalai snacks, candies, burfis, maavu urundais, pori urundai, adhirasams, murukku, chips and kamarkat varieties.

By V. Soundararani

Cold-pressed Oils

Name of the shop: Fresh and Crush
Address: Greenways Road (near Andhra Mahila Sabha hospital side gate), R A Puram.
Owners: Sivasubiramoney K., Manikandan P. A., Sasikumar M.
Phone: 6369425096, 7200000920
Timings: 10 am to 9 pm on all days.

Fresh and Crush is a 65-year-old brand while the R. A. Puram branch has been operational for three years. The oilseeds are procured, processed, cleaned and are brought from Madurai.

The shop sells wood-pressed and steel-pressed varieties of gingelly, groundnut and coconut oil.

“Wood pressing is a slow process, heat is not generated and we get good quality oil. The sediments have to settle slowly and it takes time,” says Sivasubiramoney.

“Preservatives or chemicals are not used. Only palm jaggery is used in the pressing process,” he says. The shop has extractors installed and the process is done in the shop itself.

“This is a direct sales outlet. There is no time delay and the product is available fresh,” says Sivasubiramoney.

While wood-pressed gingelly oil costs Rs 420, steel-pressed gingelly oil costs Rs 380. Door delivery is available for a minimum order of 2 litres – in the Mylapore and Adyar areas. Other items available in the store include Uthukuli ghee, brown sugar and palm sugar.

By V. Soundararani

Used cardboard boxes: sale

Name of the shop: Ganesh Store
Address: 78, R K Mutt Road (opp BSS Hospital), Mandaveli.
Owner: K N Ramachandran
Phone: 8248720991
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 9 pm

Ganesh store is a 48-year-old shop that sells reusable cardboard cartons to meet packing and transporting needs. Both retail and bulk sales happen at this shop.

“My customers include caterers and restaurateurs. Courier office staff and people working in other offices also buy cardboard boxes from my shop for storing and transporting files,” says N Radhakrishnan.

Cardboard boxes that are discarded by the retail shops after one use are resold here.

A 2×3 ft box costs around Rs. 40.

“I have boxes in all sizes and customers can choose. Domestic packers and movers are frequent customers. They buy huge boxes for repacking appliances like fridges and washing machines,” he adds.

By V. Soundararani

Laundry, dyer

Name of the shop: New Band Box Cleaners and Dyers
Address: 14, Chitrakulam West Street, Mylapore.
Owner: S. Kalasha
Phone: 9940586162
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 7.45 pm.

New Band Box Cleaners and Dyers was started 13 years ago, after the original Band Box closeby was closed down. Coats, pants, shirts, sarees and dhotis are washed at a premium processing central facility of the 65-year-old renowned Band Box launderers, starched, dried and are brought back to this shop where the clothes are pressed using a special technique.

Kalasha, is the shop owner; he says he worked in the original Band Box shop for 40 years.

Kalasha says he does not believe in dry cleaning. “Clothes need to be washed in water and water cannot harm any fabric. I think some chemicals are being added in water to retain colour and texture, in the name of dry cleaning,” he says.

Washing a set of pants and coat will cost Rs. 450 and will take a week’s time.

Darning and dyeing of garments and sarees are also done here. “But I rarely get such orders,” he says.

By V. Soundararani

Stitching, alteration, servicing sewing machine

Name of the shop: D R Rao Tailoring Materials
Address: 70/87, Alamelumangapuram, Mylapore.
Owner: D. Raghunath
Phone: 9176691957
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 1.30 pm, 3 to 8.30 pm. Sunday – 10 am to 1.30 pm.

Raghunath, the owner, is an expert in darning garments. His father, B. Dannaji, was a well-known tailor.

Customers can go to this shop for alteration of jeans and blouses, restitching of newly-bought trousers, shirts, chudidhars and kurtas. Raghunath says he can change the style and pattern of clothes, as well.

The 33-year-old shop also sells tailoring materials like thread, buttons, needles, laces and lining material, apart from spares for sewing machines. Servicing of the sewing machines is also done, if it is brought to the shop.

“My intent for perfection pleases my customers and they keep coming back to me,” says Raghunath.

The shop stitches new garments.

By V. Soundararani

Podis and masalas

Name of the shop: Guru Raghavendra Home needs
New 129, Old 53/1, Adam Street, Mylapore.
Owner: Rajeswari V.
Phone: 8838678846
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30am to 2.30pm, 4 to 9pm
Sunday 9.30am to 2.30pm

Masala podis, appalams, pickles and rice mixes. A variety of idli podis – in flavours of sesame, garlic, coconut and kollu are available. Less spicy ‘baby idli podi’ is an innovative product, apart from the sambar and rasam podis. You get all these at this shop.

Rice mixes such as paruppu and kariveppilai and drumstick leaf podis, lemon, amla, citron (salted naarthankai, kidaarankai), sweet and hot pachadis and mahali, mavadu, puli milagai, puli inji and garlic and veppilai kattis are also sold here.

Appalams also – arisi, ulundu, milagu, maracheeni – and manathakkali, sundaikkai vathals and vadagams on sale.

The shop is run by Rajeswari and Venkatesh under the brand name Aishwaryam.

The couple launched this 15 years ago when Rajeswari joined her mother-in-law Geetha in the latter’s little business.

“Our business gathered momentum after we learnt the business nuances from my brother-in-law Venkatasubramaniam. We have a production facility in Perungalathur,” says Venkatesh.

Rajeswari says their products are totally free of preservatives. The shop used to be on Mari Chetty Street.

Home delivery is accepted for orders above Rs. 500.

All products under Aishwaryam brand have the FSSAI certification and trade permissions needed, says Venkatesh.

Lead for this story: Baskar Seshadri
By V. Soundararani

Tailoring materials, embroidery, sewing machine service

Name of the shop: Al-Mina Collection
Address: 178-A Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
Owner: K. Saburdeen
Phone: 9884105233
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 10.30 am to 8.30 pm. Sunday is a holiday.

Al-Mina Collections, started 20 years ago by Saburdeen, sells tailoring material and essentials for embroidery work – saree falls, thread, buttons, zippers, laces, bobbins, bobbin cases, scale, lining, tapes, needles and thread remover.

Embroidery needs including complete sets for aari work like silk thread, jari, needles and colour stones are available here. Accessories for sewing machines are sold here.

Saburdeen also undertakes machine embroidery work on women’s garments. The simplest border embroidery on blouses costs Rs 50.

The shop services sewing machines and provides parts that need replacement.

Abdul Rahman assists Saburdeen in the shop. Home servicing of machines undertaken.

By V. Soundararani

Laundry, dyeing & darning

Name of the shop: New 5 Star Dry Cleaners & Laundry
Address: 30/236, St. Mary’s Road, Mandaveli
Owner: K. Mohammed Habibullah
Phone: 8754412013
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 8.30 pm, Sunday – 9am to 1 pm.

This place offers washing and dry-wash of clothes, apart from dyeing and darning services. Founded by Habibullah, this 40-year-old shop uses mechanised processes for this work.

Habibullah says he has worked with leading laundries and has much experience in this field.

“Colour dyeing is a great option to brighten the faded ones or to give a new look to the clothes. Garments, curtains and coats – be it cotton, linen, woollen or terry wool – can be colour dyed,” he says.

Sarees, suits, dhotis or any garment that gets torn can be darned here. Charges for mending a half-an-inch tear is Rs 40.

Roller starching and steam ironing of sarees and other dresses are also done here.

Abdullah’s son Hasanullah manages the shop.

Door-step pick-up and delivery is available within a 2 kms radius of the shop.

By V. Soundararani

Carton boxes, junk electronics, metal scrap. Bought and sold

Name of the shop: Sri Vignesh Traders
Address: 1/2, Alwarpet Street (off TTK Road), Alwarpet.
Owner: T. Sadhanandham
Phone: 99419 12242
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9am to 9 pm. Sunday – 9 am to 1 pm.

Sri Vignesh Traders, earlier Sri Murugan Waste Paper Stores, is a 50-year-old shop dealing with discarded and reusable material.

Sadhanandham, the owner, says he buys any item which can be recycled. Customers can also buy new cardboard cartons in different sizes.

“We buy plastics, metal waste, electronic scrap whose plastic and metal components. We also buy newsprint and old wooden furniture which can be re-used,” says Sadhanandham; his wife Sumathi and four staff form the team here.

A small carton box costs Rs. 10: big ones are at Rs. 250. Used cardboard boxes are priced at Rs. 40 per kilo.

People can call for the shop’s doorstep pick-up of old paper, scrap and the rest ( but they cover only a 3 kilometre radius zone).

By V. Soundararani

Women’s garments: embroidery, tailoring

Name of the shop: Shakthi Aari Embroidery & Tailoring Institute
Address: 27/41, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore.
Owner: Nithya J.
Phone: 79043 97435.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 2 pm. 5.30 to 8 pm.

Sakthi Aari Embroidery & Tailoring Institute, owned by Nithya, has been around for six years.

Aari work and machine embroidery orders for blouses, churidars, lehengas, maxi gowns, kids’ frocks, long skirts and blouses (pavadai chattai) are undertaken here.

“Customers research online and bring their preferred design to us. I create the design for them. I can also customise blouses and lehengas, from choosing the material to giving you the finished product,” says Nithya.

She says the present trend is 3D and 5D aari work where the design is created on a different cloth as base and is merged with the garment.

Nithya also creates ‘mom and daughter’ combo lehengas, made from the sarees a customer gives. She also does block-printing on blouses and other materials.

Customers can visit this shop to get their blouses stitched as per their choice. Cholee cut, princess cut and lining blouses are made here.

The charge for basic aari work on blouses starts at Rs 1000.

Tailoring classes are also conducted here. Nithya says she handles the classes.

Nithya used to run this business from home. She says she has completed courses on stitching and clothes designing.

By  V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: New Shiva Nattu Mooligai Marundu Kadai
Address: No.133, Bazaar Road, Mylapore
Owner: S. Rajendran
Phone: 24670098, 9791192875
Timings: all days 10 am to 9.30 pm.

This shop is run by R Prakash, the descendant of Sivapoosanam Chettiar and an engineering graduate.

“This is a branch of a native drug store started 90 years ago by my grandfather Sivapoosanam Chettiar. I have grown up in this background and
am well aware about the products we offer,” says Prakash.

The shop has diabetic medicines with herbs like sirukurinjaan, aavarampoo, seeds of jamun fruits and methi seeds. Snaana powder, herbal shikakai powder, hair powders to deal with lice and dandruff are among the other products sold under the shop’s own brand – Shiva Herbals.

A packet of shikakai powder weighing 200 grams costs Rs 100. “We have herbal medicines for common ailments. Veppaalai thailam is effective for all skin related issues. Karunjeeragam omam vendhayam podi is brought frequently. We have 150 types of herbal podis and thailams,” said Prakash.

The store also sells all items needed for pooja and homam

By V. Soundararani

CCTV installation and service, electronic accessories

Name of the shop: New Kevin Electronics
Address: 172/127 Kutchery Road (opposite Dinakaran office),
Owner: P. David
Phone: ‪48517519, 9840263732
Timings: all days 10 am to 9.30 pm.

New Kevin Electronics is a seven-year-old shop. Owned by P David, the shop deals with installation and servicing of CCTV systems.

“I have 30 years of experience in the field of electronics. There were times when installing CCTV was considered an elite affair. It is not so anymore. It has become absolutely necessary in the present times,” says David.

A single camera, memory card and installation costs Rs 2750. This addresses the security concerns of aged people at home, as they can be monitored on a mobile even from remote locations, he says.

Premier brands like Hikvision, Dahua, CP Plus are installed. “The package cost would go up to Rs 13000 if the house needs 4 cameras to cover the different locations. Internet connection is needed for remote access,” he says.

New Kevin Electronics also sells computer accessories, assembled computers, cordless phones, cordless bells, headsets, mosquito bats, emergency lamps, TV remotes and wall mounting accessories, mini home theatres and stabilizers. “I also help in the servicing of these items but I get it done elsewhere,” he adds.

By  V Soundararani


Name of the shop: Restitch Point
Address: 140 A, Shanthi Vihar Complex (Luz Ginza) Shop No 15, Royapettah High Road, Luz
Owner: M. Sasikala (managed by her husband N. Murugadass)
Phones: 4210 6971, 98402 95552.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10.30 am to 1 pm. 4.30 to 8.30 pm.

Restitch Point, as the name suggests, is all about getting garments alterations done. This shop is 35 years old.

“I drew inspiration from similar business models in Mumbai and Pondicherry. I come from a family of tailors (G N Rao),” says Murugadass.

Customers who want to preserve their costly garments but need to re-size them come to him. Murugadass has a long list of celebrities as his customers.

“Sometimes, I have to remove all the stitches and start from scratch. In the case of a trouser, a full job costs Rs.500. There are limitations though to what we can do.”

Resizing of pants, shirts, chudidhars, T-shirts, kurtas and jeans are undertaken here. Also done, is fixing new buttons. Delivery of the finished clothes may take between 4 days and 30 days, depending on the work that needs to be done.

The place does not accept re-stitching blouses – because the job cannot be a complete one.

Murugadass has a team of 6 and one of his staff members Valliammal has been employed in the shop for 15 years.

He started in a 30-square-feet space. The present shop has a front counter and a workstation on the first floor.

By  V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Leo Wall Paper Decor
Address: 59, Chitrakulam West Street, Mylapore.
Owner: M. Jagadeesh
Phone: ‪75500 28101
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 9.30 pm

Jagadesh runs this store. Started a year ago, the shop caters to the needs of people interested in designing their houses or offices with wall papers.

Jagadesh says he made the shift from the construction sector to ‘interior designing’ seven years ago.

“I started my operations from my house in Mylapore. Last year, I set up this shop. By visiting the site, we guide the customer to choose the right material,” he says.

He has a range of designs and materials to choose from. Pasting wall stickers, sticking decorative material, covering cupboard areas – internal and external are the job-works he undertakes.

Jagadesh quotes per square feet cost for the entire work, including material and execution. The price starts from Rs 35 and goes up to Rs 500.

“A work order for a minimum 200 square feet will be viable for us. I ensure that the wall surface is smoothened and ready, before I start the wall paper work. Walls should not have moisture. The life of the adhesive will be short-lived on moist walls,” he says.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Chennai Tailor
Address: No 4, B7, Venkatesa Agraharam, Mylapore.
Owner: E. Selvam
Phone: 97102 78846
Timings: All days – 10 am to 9 pm.

Women can have their blouses, salwars, kurtas, churidars stitched here.
Selvams shop is a ‘ladies special’. He says that he can execute orders with the help of measurements in case a customer cannot provide a sample piece.

“We can also make light, designer blouses but not embroidered or hand-worked ones” says Selvam.

This shop is four years old; Selvam says he has been in this business for over 20 years now. His shop has been in three other places earlier – in the Mylapore zone.

“After schooling I joined a tailor and since then, it has been a learning experience. I perfected the skill down the years,” he said.

Women can get their tailoring needs like fixing falls and peco work for sarees done at Chennai Tailor.

Selvam also sells nighties and in-skirts at his shop. “I procure them in bulk, in various models and in a variety designs from many sources,” Selvam said

He charges Rs. 300 to stitch a standard blouse.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sri Kapaleeswarar Coconut Mandi
Address: No.67, R K Mutt Road (alongside the Math)
Owner: M. Natarajan
Phone: 8056267963
Timings: All days – 7 am to 7 pm.

Sri Kapaleeswarar Coconut Mandi has all varieties of coconut – tender, dry, sevvalaneer (red variety). The shop was started by Natarajan, five years ago – a board shares information on the 10 health benefits of tender coconut.

“My family was in the coconut business for the last 70 years, near the temple tank of Mylapore. The knowledge has been passed on to me. I can judge a coconut just from the external feel,” says Natarajan.

Natarajan manages wholesale and retail sales of coconuts.

“Tender coconut is an evergreen drink which can be consumed throughout the year. I sell it at a cheaper rate,” says Natarajan.

He says he gets the stock from Pollachi, Pondy, Cuddalore and Theni.

Natarajan says the sevvelaneer (red) is a hybrid variety and has a huge quantity of water. Cost – Rs 60. He says the native, green coconut trees survive for over eight decades.

By  V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: GPR Pet Shop
Address: 78, Mandaveli Street, R A Puram.
Owner: S.P. Raviraj
Phone: 9677170744
Timings: 9 am to 9 pm all days.

GPR Pet Shop sells food for pet cats, birds, fishes, mice and more. There is also pet food that lasts longer, which comes in handy when owners need it when they go on a vacation.

The four-year-old shop sells pet accessories like collars, leash, a range of body belts, feeding bottles and masks, as well. Other requirements like tank motor and air stones ( for rearing fish) are also stocked here. All the products are procured from branded manufacturers, we are told.

An ardent pet lover, Raviraj says he also does his bit to feed and take care of stray, abandoned and distressed animals. “Anyone interested in taking care of country dogs, can contact me. I will find and give them for free,” he says.

Pet owners can contact Raviraj for consultations as well. “I can guide them on handling injury, sickness, routine checkups, adoption and more,” he adds Raviraj.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: K. G. N. Bed House
Address: No. 129, Mandaveli Street (Adam Street corner), Mandaveli.
Owner: H. Nadeem Ahmed.
Phones: 9840269585, 9940025375
Timings: Mon. to Sat.10 am to 9 pm. Sun.: 10 am to 3 pm.

K.G.N. Bed House is in the business of making mattresses and pillows, customised curtains and cushions and refurbishes sofa sets and upholstered furniture.

“In the business for over 20 years in this locality, the skills of this business has been handed over by my father,” says Nadeem Ahmed, who has been learning the skills since the age of ten.

Customers here check in to get their sofa sets repaired. Ahmed can visit houses if it requires to assess the need and service. His team makes cotton and foam mattresses set to dimensions given by customers. Prices will depend on the size and the density of the foam used. A 3×6ft silk cotton mattress costs around Rs. 6500.
The shop also sells Duroflex brand of products.

He sources both, cotton and silk cotton (ilavam panju), for mattresses and pillows locally. “When it comes to the fabric for upholstery we stock here a wide range to choose from, even those brought from Panipat and Surat,” explains Nadeem.

The team of four staff execute orders and this place seems busy.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sri Karpagambal Fruits Shop
Address: No.27, East Mada Street, Mylapore.
Owner: E. Gnanavel
Phones: 9444155752, 9962055752.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 6.30 am to 9 pm.
Sunday – till 2 pm.

Sri Karpagambal Fruits Shop sells all varieties of bananas – Poovam, Rasthali, Pachai Pazham, Karpooravalli, Moris, Yelakki, Naattuppazham,
Malaippazham, Pachainadan, Sevvazhai and Nendran.

Started three years ago, this shop caters to both wholesale and retail buyers.

The rates of each variety are displayed at the shop. “Atleast 300 retail customers buy bananas from my shop everyday,” said Gnanavel.

He gets the fruit from Cuddalore, Erode and Trichy – daily.

“I give the extra fruits at low rates at end of day and sometimes free of cost to the needy,” he says.

Before venturing into the banana business, Gnanavel was a waste-paper dealer in R. A. Puram. He continues that business today.

By V. Soundararani

Garments’ restitch, buttons, zigzag, pico and kaja work

Name of the shop: K.C.G. Sekar Tailors.
Address: 7, East Mada Street, Mylapore
Owner: K. C. G. Sekar
Phone: 9381010361
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 1 pm to 9 pm.

Sekar says he has been stitching garments for the last 40 years. This shop – K. C. G. Sekar Tailors – was started by his father Chinnaswamy, 65 years ago and passed on to him.

“We used to get export orders earlier but now we undertake restitching of garments,” says Sekar.

Alteration of churidars, pants, tightening and loosening of blouses and changing zippers are undertaken by Sekar.

The shop has five tailoring machines, including the special ones for pico, overlock, kaja and others such work. “I sell saree falls and offer stitching needs like thread, canvas (for providing padding in shirts and others) and hooks,” he says.

Does he do blouse alterations? Sekar says that he will need to redo the blouse completely to get the perfect fit. “This takes more time than making a new blouse. So, I don’t accept such alteration work,” he adds.

By V. Soundararani.


Name: Rukmini Ladder & Stool Rentals
Address: Canal Bank Road, Kabali Thottam (far end of Justice Sundaram Road from Nageswara Rao Park side), Mylapore.
Owner: S. Rukmini
Phone: 8056294716

Rukmini rents iron and bamboo ladders and she has a variety of them – from 25, 20, 15,12 to 10 feet tall ones. She also gives out on rent, ghoda stools, both in iron and wood.

These ladders and stools are hired by painters, apartment cleaners and AC fitters. Individuals also use them for external house cleaning and while executing minor repair works.

Her daughter helps her in procuring the ladders and stools from Avadi. Talking about the challenges in this trade, Rukmani says, “There have been instances of people not returning the items. Sometimes, the furniture is damaged and returned. So I take an advance on renting iron ladders.”

Rental starts from Rs. 100 per day.

Rukmini lost her husband Somu,15 years ago. She had to close down a successful furniture shop, Somu Furniture, in Abhiramapuram. So she is on her own now.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Khadi India (Unit of Madras Sarvodaya Sangh)
Owner: Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan
Shop 1: No. 5, Venkatesa Agraharam. Phone: 8667364468.
Shop 2: No. 236/80, R K Mutt Road. Phone: 9710895234.

Khadi India has two shops in Mylapore and they stock similar products in both places.

The shop at Venkatesa Agraharam sells a wide range of household, hygiene and food products. Khadi dhotis, towels, shirts and jubba (kurta) are the main attractions here.

A simple khadi (4 muzham) dhoti costs between Rs 400 and Rs 450, after a discount of 25% for the festival season. Presently, all items are being sold at discounted rates.

Pure honey and chekku edible oils sell well here.

Herbal cosmetics, herbal medicines, handmade soaps, cleaning liquids and herbal juices are sold. A wide variety of traditional cotton mattresses (ilavam panju) and pillows, Kora mats with colourful designs are also available. Sandal garlands, fried snacks and bakery items made by cottage industries, appalams and a variety of other food items are also stocked for sale.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Tirupati Balaji Nattu Marundu Kadai
Address: 47, Bazaar Road (near Kutchery Road junction), Mylapore.
Phone: 044-24980763, 9840537761.
Owner: S. Balaji
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 10 am to 8 pm. Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm.

Tirupati Balaji Naatu Marundu Kadai, earlier called Original Siva Naatu Marundu Kadai, sells native medicines, herbal products and items for pooja. Founded by Sivapoosanam around 80 years ago, this shop is now being run by Balaji and his son SP Eashwar.

Prasava lehiyam, Deepavali Marundu, medicinal powders like Thiriphala, thirikadugu, chooranams and herbal oils, for ailments like cold, cough, joint pains, diabetes and hypertension are sold here. Good-quality herbs like karunjeeragam, omam, sukku, thippili and sitharathai are available here.

Customers can buy items needed for pooja and homam like samith, turmeric, sandal powder, Kumkum here.

“We have customers for padihara threads, garuda Kizhangu and kathazhai which are considered auspicious and holy. People believe that these items can bring in peace and comfort,” says Balaji.

The business has been hit after the metro rail work started on Kutchery road stretch and we are somehow managing the show, he adds.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sakthi Appalam Store
Address: 120/12, R K Mutt Road
Owner: Muruganantham
Phones: 9543439623, 9380895970.
Timings: 10 am to 9 pm, all days

Sakthi Appalam Store sells a variety of flavoured rice appalams – pudina, tomato, omam, jeera, ellu, dry chilli, green chilli and garlic-flavoured, among others.

It also sells tapioca appalams in two varieties – plain and red chilli. Urad ones are also available in pepper and jeera flavours, apart from rice and sago vadagams.

“Many people buy thaalippu vadagam with onion, vazhaithandu and some more that can be used with all types of kuzhambu preparations.

When we make these, we allow the dough to soak in castor oil, for a longer shelf life and also to make it healthier,” says Muruganantham, whose wife Aykotkani assists him in this four-year-old business.

Pirandai thokku is one of our fast-moving products, says Aykotkani. The shop also stocks mudakathan and thoothuvalai thokkus. Mavadu, citron, ginger mango, garlic and tomato pickles are available. Sambar powder, idli powder, curry leaves and dhal powders are also available.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Rental Zone
Address: 82/92, Apparswamy Koil Street, Mylapore.
Owner: Ghouse Basha and Brothers.
Phones: 7550149318, 8838916787
Timings: All days, anytime – on phone call.

Team Rental Zone erects Arabian-style tents, shamianas – pipe and bamboo-based – for special occasions in open spaces or on the terrace. They are experts in erecting side screens in parking spaces for dining, and suppying special covers for furniture used at social events.

People can also hire pedestal fans, air coolers, mobile hand-wash units, mattresses, pillows, red carpets for walkways, floor mats, serial decorative lights, plastic chairs, tables and focus lights from Rental Zone. The work of decoration can also be entrusted to this shop.

“We are a team of five, with brothers Thameem Basha and Hidayathullah Shariff. We are very prompt in delivering furniture and appliances within a few minutes of receiving the order,” says Ghouse Basha, who has been in this field for over 20 years.

Making a neat and beautiful event venue out of open space is the strength of Rental Zone, says Ghouse.

Arabian tents are most preferred nowadays and Rental Zone can erect one for Rs 3000 on a 400 sqft. area.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: IMA Sewing Solutions
Address: 92/3, P S Sivaswamy Salai, Mylapore.
Owner: P. Suresh Chandran
Phone: 7200255355.
Timings: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm.

IMA Sewing solutions sells all models of sewing machine brands – Brother, Usha, Singer, Meritt, Juki and Jack. Servicing of any brand is also undertaken. This 12-year-old business has 4 shops across the city.

“We provide service for all models of sewing machines including industrial ones. Customers can book their requirements on our App. All the communication happens on the App and it is easy to track. Our highly-skilled technicians will attend to the needs of the customers. Common atangled stitches. We also have a pick-up and drop facility, if required,” says Suresh Chandran, the owner, who has an experience of 35 years in the industry.

The App is: ima_customer.apk wjzLo8NC_/view?usp=sharing

Suresh says today’s machines are hi-tech models with HD and LCD touch screen displays. “Once the customised designs are fed, the mechanism itself handles the embroidery and stitching, unmanned. Any complex work is completed within a couple of hours,” says Suresh. IMA Sewing Solutions offers after sales service, without passing it on to the manufacturing company. They also support during the warranty period.

Tips for customers – 1. Sewing machines need yearly service even if it is rarely used. 2. Oiling, cleaning, thread tension adjustment and balancing are vital. The charges for servicing a simple sewing machine starts at Rs 300.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sri Murugan Country Drugs
Address: 132, Bazaar Road, Mylapore.
Phone: 24980939, 9445279232.
Owner: S. Vedagir
Timings: All days – 8 am to 9.30 pm.

Sri Murugan Nattu Marunthu Kadai (country drugs store) claims to be a 100-year-old store, selling native medicines. Founded by Sambasivam, this shop has seen many changes to keep up with the changing needs, says his grandson Karthikeyan, who runs the business now.

The shop sells extracts of pirandai, banana stem, jamun, flax seed, fig, avaram poo and aruhampul. “These items have good medicinal properties and are popular among people now,” said Karthikeyan.

The shop also sells medicinal oils for muscular and skin ailments. Siddha prescription medicines are also available here.

Shoppers also ask for herbal hair colouring products like Avuri and Mehendi powders.

Cow dung cakes, samit, doopam, deepam varieties, spatika mala, karungali mala, thamarai mani mala and other pooja items are sold here. Cane baskets are also available.

The shop’s own brand of oma water, prasava legiyam powder, herbal medicinal powders, soaps, pastes and shampoo are also available.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sri Velmurugan Flour Mill
Address: 120, P. S. Sivaswamy Salai
(near Vivekananda College), Mylapore.
Owner: Sampath Chockalingam
Phone: 9043561711
Timings: Monday to Saturday (8.45 am to 8.45 pm).
Sundays: Through phone appointments.

Sri Velmurugan Flour Mill is a 70-year-old shop which has 9 grinding machines. Vasanai podi, sathu maavu, turmeric powder, shikakai and sugar are readied here. There are specific machines for select items.

Sathish, grandson of founder Chockalingam, runs the mill now. “We pay utmost attention to hygiene and purity. Customer satisfaction is important to us. Famed restaurants and individuals in this locality are our customers. We have regular customers who come from faraway places like Thiruvottiyur,” says Sathish.

At this mill, the staff take care to grind for preparing sambar podi, chilli powder and other such masalas; since these are meant for long-term use, they are allowed to cool down after the grind, before transferring into containers. “We offer concessional rates and credit facilities for bulk grinding. We also have a pick-up and drop facility. Customers know that they can get the grinding done at any time here,” says Sathish who quit his bank job, to pep up the mill’s sagging income 7 years ago.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Gunasundari Earthen Pots
Address: 43, Bazaar Road ( off Kutchery Road), Mylapore.
Owner: Gunasundari N.
Phone: 7401628861
Timings: Monday to Saturday (10.30 am to 6.30 pm)
Sunday (10.30 am to 1 pm)

There are a variety of earthen pots for making rice and gravies sold at this shop. It also sells lamps, diyas and pots for wedding rituals.

“This shop has been in the same place for more than 65 years. The rent which started at Rs 5 has become Rs 10,000 now but brisk business is not happening. During temple festivals and wedding seasons, I get a reasonable income. Oil lamps with wind shields are a fast-moving product now,” says Gunasundari, the owner, whose mother-in-law’s mother-in-law started the business. She says she sources her products from Thiruneermalai and Arani and places orders as per seasonal needs.

“My husband and children have their own jobs to do. So, I handle this business on my own,” she says.

A simple pot for making pongal costs around Rs 250.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Modern Stationers
Address: 81/43, R K Mutt Road (near Mandaveli market)
Owner: Mubarak Meera
Phone: 9894189990
Timings: Open all days from 10.30 am to 9.15 pm.
Fridays – Shop closed between 12.30 and 2 pm

Modern Stationers, founded by Mubarak and his relative, has been in one location for more than 45 years. The customers are mostly students from the two schools of the P. S. Schools group.

A variety of pens, pencils, notebooks, academic guides, childrens’ books, drawing books, colour pens, chart papers and stickers are available. Stationery needed for offices like accounts notebooks, files and sheets of paper are also available.

“The business was brisk when we used to sell school books. Now, the schools issue them on their own. Business is just picking up after the pandemic,” says Mubarak.

He feels that people are nowadays tight in their spending even on school needs and so business gets affected.

By V. Soundararani


Location: Pavement of Mundagakanni Amman Koil Street
Owners: Arul, Lakshmi
Timings: Throughout the day
Phone: 8124906115 (not working as of now)

Anbu repairs umbrellas, footwear and bags on the pavement of Mundagakanni Amman Koil Street, outside the Baba temple near Vasanth Apartments.

“My father was doing the same job here and now I am following in his footsteps. Our shop is more than 40 years old,” says Arul.

Lakshmi, Arul’s wife, assists him. Apart from repair work, the couple also sell used / repaired footwear.

“Please help me set up a bunk shop.

I used to have one but it was taken away,” says Arul, who also holds a license to run the business.

“We get at least seven customers everyday and that helps us earn our daily bread. Our four children have been married off and it is just both of us. Our phone display is broken and so the phone is not working now,” says Lakshmi.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Reliable Bag Works
Address: 6/25, Norton Road, Mandaveli.
Owner: R. S. Hameed
Phone: 9710328758, 9444252576
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 9 pm.
Sunday – 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

Reliable Bag Works had been at 178/52, Kutchery Road for 35 years, until it moved to Norton Road recently.

The shop undertakes repair of school bags, travel bags, trolleys and suitcases. Replacement of zippers, trolley assembly and wheels are also done
here. New bags are also given an additional stitch here, if you need that!

“I have been in the San Thome School area for a long time. Boys who used my services many years ago, recommend me to others. Some of them have gone abroad for work but they continue to be my customers. I am happy that these clients are asking their friends to come to me for their bag repair needs,” says Hameed, who got into this business through a relative who was doing lining work for bags.

Hameed also makes customised covers for suitcases and trolley bags, even for premium brands. He makes these covers using a transparent plastic material.

“These covers will protect the luggage during transit and I ask my customers to use it,” he says. A large cover would cost around Rs.1000.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sri Karpagambal Cycles
Address: 25/49, T M Soundararajan Street, Mandaveli.
Phone: 8428998595
Owner: D. G. Shekar
Timings: 7 days of a week – 9 am to 8.30 pm.

Sri Karpagambal Cycles was started in 1968 by Raju C.T. and is now being managed by his son, Shekar. The shop services all types of bicycles – the basic, exercise cycles and sports cycles. Some Indian cycle brands are also sold.

Shekar is also well-versed with the servicing of premium segment imported bicycle – like Giant, Polygon, Surly, Merida and more, he says. Spares are also available with him for this.

This 55-year-old shop in Mandaveli has cultivated a large group of regular customers.

“I took charge of the business in 1994. I am very passionate about bicycles. I also play an active role in Mylai Midhivandi Kuzhu, a club that undertakes cycling activities,” says Shekar.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Lakshmi Stone Works
Address: 120/11, R K Mutt Road (opp. Ramakrishna Mutt campus ), Mylapore
Owner: K. Veerapatheran
Phone: 9444361323
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 7.30 pm.
Sunday – 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

Lakshmi Stone Works takes orders for name / sign plates engraved on stone – on granite or marble. The shop also sells a variety of traditional grinding equipment – Ammi, Aatural, mini urals, among others.

Stone tiles with engraved images of deities are made and sold.

Arunkumar runs the business now. “My grandfather, Kuppuswamy Naidu, brought grinding stones from his village to sell them in Chennai. My father, Veerapatheran, established this shop 30 years ago. Ours is a one-stop-shop for all stone ware,” says Arunkumar.

The shop also sells granite sinks and slabs, Kadappa slabs, small images of gods and goddesses.

“We customise name plates as per the customer’s desire. Plaques for fixing on new buildings are also made here,” he adds.

A 12×6 inch stone name plate costs around Rs 650.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Omega Watch Co.
Address: 37/26, Mandaveli Street
Phone: 7904952342
Owner: Liaqath D.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 9 pm.
Sunday is a holiday.

Omega Watch Co is a 39-year-old shop. Founded by Liaqath, the shop has stood in the same place all these years. Abdullah, Liaqath’s cousin, is the care-taker and technician of the shop now.

“I have been servicing wrist watches and clocks in this shop for a long time. We have won the trust of the residents and they come to us for all watch and clock-related services,” he says.

Abdullah adds that he can also handle antique wrist watches and clocks which are not working or need to be serviced.

“Omega, Rolex, chiming clocks, pendulum clocks, cuckoo clocks, German clocks – are some of the types that are brought to us for repairs and servicing. I use a lathe to make spares in case I don’t get spare parts. We have been mostly successful in making the clocks tick again,” he says.

Abdullah said that he generally gets quartz clocks and watches for repair. “I try my best to repair the movement which is the prime component of the clocks,” he says.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Roops Corner Aquarium
Address: 43/81, R K Mutt Road, near Mandaveli market bus stop, Mandaveli.
Phone: 9841537644
Owner: V. Kumar
Timings: 10 am to 2 pm, 4 to 9 pm.

This aquarium sells fish and pet birds. Kumar has been advising customers to set up their home aquarium for the last 25 years. He has many regular customers who come to him not just for the fish and birds, but also for a wide range of pets’ products.

Ushrarani, Kumar’s wife, helps him in his business. What started as a hobby became our business, says Usharani.

At Roops Corner Aquarium, customers can get Arowana, Flowerhorn, gold, Molly and Guppy as well as African love birds, cocktails and finches, among others. Fish tanks, bird cages, oxygen supply equipment, fancy lights, stones and pet food is also sold here.

Kumar and Usharani get the fish / birds from the breeders. “Among other places, we also get the best fish species from Kolathur,” says Kumar.

Kumar says he is proud of the knowledge gained in the pet business over the years. “Customers, mainly children, discuss their doubts with me. I share my knowledge about pet maintenance and these lead to interesting interactions,” he said.

Ordinary, small fish is priced at Rs.20, while the price of birds starts from Rs 400.

Report by V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Shiree Sai Enterprises
Address: 1, Norton Road (near CUB bank’s branch), Mandaveli.
Owner: R. Rajesh
Phones: 9840341771, 6381530070.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 8.30 am to 7 30 pm. Sunday – 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

Shiree Sai Enterprises rents power tools, which are used in homes and offices. Rope ladder, (referred to as dokku colloquially) and core-cutting machine (used for fixing split ACs) are also available on rent, here.

“I was working in the construction field. In 2002, I ventured into this business. I started with one tool and today, I offer a range of useful tools,” says Rajesh.

Other tools available in the shop are drilling machines, diamond (concrete) cutting machines, rebar fixing tools, breaking tools and also, tools for pressure washing.

Shiree Sai Enterprises has all the tools needed for construction, maintenance and repair of buildings.

“For the use of some select tools, I also depute workers to the site. I do this after I interact with clients and understand the nature of work. Otherwise, most of my tools are hired by skilled workers and masons, who need them for specific jobs,” adds Rajesh.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Philip Arts
Address: 91/46, Kutchery Road (next to Mylapore Post Office), Mylapore.
Owner: T. Baskar
Phone: 9940015367
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday – 10am to 2 pm.

Baskar of Philip Arts can make duplicate house keys and remote keys for cars. He also makes signboards.

“We were a family of goldsmiths. My father was a (drawing) artist who had also worked for Philips. So, he named his business after the company,” said Bhaskar, who learnt the skills from his father.

“I have been in the business for 10 years and have gained expertise. I can give solutions instantly and this draws more customers to my shop,” says Bhaskar.

He says he will visit a house if the family needs to make duplicate keys in cases where they may have lost or misplaced them.

Simple keys can be made for Rs.40, while complicated ones can cost Rs. 500. The starting price of duplicate car keys is Rs 1000 and it goes up to Rs 3500 depending on the features like sensors.

Bhaskar also makes simple office boards and rubber stamps.

By V Soundararani. Input from Baskar Seshadri


Name of the shop: Muppathamman Old Furniture Dealer
Address: 46, Musiri Subramaniam Road (near MFAC sabha), Mylapore.
Phone: 9884264334
Owner: Dinesh M
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 8.30 am to 8 pm. Sunday is a holiday.

Dinesh has been in the business for the last six years. He buys used furniture from customers, re-works and sells them in the market. Dinesh helps to dispose of old ‘scrap’ furniture as well.

Dinesh visits the customer’s home, assesses the state of the furniture and then quotes a price for it.

“There is always a market for used wooden furniture if it is in good condition. I give the old furniture a new look and sell it off. I can easily judge the utility value of the old furniture. We are ready to pick up furniture made of wood, metal or plastic,” says Dinesh.

The customer needs to pay him a fee for disposing of the scrap furniture.

He has employed a person to make-up the used furniture business. And he concentrates on making new furniture.

By V. Soundararani


Name: S. P. Vasantha Stamp Paper Vendor
Address: No. 6, Robertson Lane, Mandavelipakkam, off R K Mutt Road.
Owner: S. P. Vasantha
Phone: 044-24939524
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 1 pm, 3 pm to 6.30 pm.
Closed on Sundays.

S. P. Vasantha sells non-judicial stamp papers of value Rs,20, Rs.50 and Rs.100 from her home. This 82-year-old has been a stamp paper vendor since 1982. It was her father-in-law, who initiated her into the business and helped her obtain the licence.

“I love to interact with the customers and guide them, if need be,” says Vasantha. She needs to write the name of the customer on the stamp paper and also maintain a record of names and phone numbers with her.

Her husband, A. Pattabhiraman assists her in her work.

The feeling of being of use to people, and her connection with the residents keeps her motivated. “My customers are very understanding. They don’t mind coming back if it is break time and I am resting,” says Vasantha.

She says she loves listening to music, learning and singing along, during her break time.

By V. Soundararani.


Name of the shop: Sree Vanadurga Enterprises
Address: 26, Mathala Narayanan Street, Mylapore.
Owner: S. Muthukumar
Phone: 97898 09586
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 8.30 pm,
Sunday – 9.30 am to 12 noon.

Sree Vanadurga Enterprises has been in the food business for the last 27 years. Appalam, vathal, vadagam, podi and pickles are sold here.

“My family members are involved in the making of these authentic recipes. The fact that we are running our business in the same locality for close to three decades amid competitors is proof for our expertise in providing quality products,” says Muthukumar.

Puli Inji and Mahalikizhangu pickles are fast-selling items. Muthukumar says his customers keep coming back for his specialty – onion vadagam. Podis on sale include sambar podi, paruppu podi, morkuzhambu podi. Sago tomato and sambar thalippu vadagams are available here.

Tapioca appalam, pappadam, appalappoo and common pickles like aavakkai, vathals and vadagams are also on sale.

“It was my father, P. L. Sundararajan, a Carnatic musician and goddess Vanadurga upaasahar who initiated me into this business. He instilled in us the basic ethics of maintaining quality which is being followed till day,” says Muthukumar.

A quarter kilo of mahalikizhangu pickle costs Rs 160 while 200 grams of puli inji costs Rs 100. The shop also takes orders for making seer bakshanam like 5-vari kai murukku, adirasam, porulvilanga urundai and paruppu thengai.

By V. Soundararani


Name: GarudaVega International Courier
Address: 95, Kutchery Road, Mylapore (opposite Mylapore Police Station).
Franchisee: D. Robert
Phones: 8754555360, 9361372916.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 6.30 pm. Sunday holiday.

GarudaVega, a chain of international courier service, has been shipping articles abroad for the last eight years. It is located in Mylapore, but is identified as the Mandaveli franchise.

“GarudaVega is known for its quick, safe and timely delivery of parcels, especially permissible food items, at the address or doorstep. Our customers even send podis, sweets, snacks, pickles, books, golu dolls, among others,” says Robert. Medicines with prescription and documents are also accepted but only to the US, he adds.

While the US is the in-demand destination for this service, parcels are sent to Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Gulf countries, says Robert.

GarudaVega does not accept precious metals and aromatic items. There is also a doorstep booking facility available, at an additional cost. This includes packing and pick-up.

“Rates are comparatively low. Calculation is done based on rate per kilo,” says Robert.

Presently, a 25 kg parcel to the USA is charged Rs.720 per kg plus GST.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Saravana Computer Keys
Address: 100/152, Royapettah High Road (opp. UCO Bank), Mylapore.
Owner: Murugan G.
Phone: 9840568356
Timings: Mon. to Sat.: 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm.

Saravana Computer Keys is a well-equipped key-making shop with a mechanical key-cutting machine and makes duplicate keys on order. ‘Electronic remote’ keys of cars and bikes can also be made by the shop owner Murugan, who says he has 30 years’ experience in key-making.

Murugan also does a ‘site visit’ in case the customer gets locked out of the home or office and has to make a duplicate key.

“I ask the owner to show his proof of identity to ensure there is no foul play,,” says Murugan, when asked how he can trust the caller who asks him to make a duplicate key. Vehicle owners will be asked to produce the registration certificate (RC) of the vehicle if they want a duplicate key made, adds Murugan.

While a simple lock key costs Rs 60 upwards, remote bike/car keys can go up to Rs 3500.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Raji Framing Works
Address: 274, Royapettah High Road (opposite Sanskrit College), Mylapore
Owner: M. Anbu
Phones: 24670087, 9444272854
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.30 am to 9.30 pm.
Sunday – 10 am to 2 pm

You can get wall hangings, craftwork, paintings and photos framed at Raji Framing Works. Anbu, who runs the shop, also frames Thanjavur and Chettinad art.

With an experience of 25 years, Anbu has a variety of services. “Lamination is also done here. I can fit LED lights along the frame to enhance the look on visuals of gods.” he says. His customers include artists and craftspeople. Anbu also visits a customer’s house to attend to their framing needs, if they are extensive. The shop has a large stock of carved teakwood, beaded and trendy synthetic frames. Prices vary.

Anbu says he also customises trays for various purposes, with the chosen visual as the base.

The cost of frames ranges from Rs.100 for synthetic (of 6×4 inches size) to Rs .1200 for teakwood decorative frames (15×12 inches size.)

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Mobile Villa
Address: 41/4, R. K. Mutt Road (opposite Housing Board Complex), Mylapore
Owner: J. Manoj
Phone: 9962818525
Timings: 10 am to 8 pm on all days

For any mobile phone related problems, you may head to Mobile Villa. Manoj and his team of technicians provide the solution, irrespective of the brand and model of the smart phones, tablets or I-pads. Issues with mobile phone accessories like Bluetooth, speakers, headphones, screen guards and chargers are also sorted out here.

“I have 10 years of experience in mobile phone servicing. I can fix any issue with any brand of smartphone,” says Manoj confidently.

Manoj adds that doorstep service is not possible as it is important for him to have the phone to his service chamber to identify the problem.

“Our servicing processes are genuine, transparent and our charges are reasonable. It takes about two to three days to rectify certain issues. Customers should have the patience and trust,” he says.

By V Soundararani. Lead provided by Baskar Seshadri.


Name: Amudham Paarambariya Marachekku Vanigam
Address: 36, Mathala Narayanan Street, Mylapore.
Also at 32/14, R K Mutt Road, Mandaveli.
Owners: K Janakiraman, K Sivasankar.
Phones: 9952647483, 9842033815.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 9 pm
2nd and 3rd Sundays – 9 am to 2 pm

This is a chain of shops that sell freshlyextracted gingelly (sesame), groundnut and coconut oils, priced at Rs 400, Rs 280 and Rs 320 respectively.

K. Janakiraman started this business six years ago after quitting his job as a professor. His brothers are also involved in the business.

“The unique selling proposition (USP) of this chain is that only good quality raw materials are procured, cleaned thoroughly and processed. No chemicals are added. We are transparent in the process and also inform customers about the ingredients used. We urge the customers to bring their own containers, to not only preserve the goodness of the oil we make, but also to avoid plastic usage,”says Janakiraman.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Mylai Siva Naatu Mooligai Marundu Kadai
Address: 288, Royapettah High Road (opp Anjaneyar Temple) Mylapore.
Owner: R. Vimal Karthick
Phones: 43356060, 9941472103
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 9 pm.
Sunday – 9 am to 1 pm.

Vimal Karthick sells special native herbs in its purest forms at his store. Herbs like Thippili, Adhimadhuram, Sitharathai and Sukku can be purchased from this shop. He also sells an array of naatu marundhu items like Prasava marunthu, Deepavali marunthu, lehiyam and chooranam.

Karthik also has herbs for ailments like cold, cough and hair scalp-related issues. “There are 108 varieties of medicinal powders in my store. Customers come to me for pain relieving oils. Our herbal powders are carefully prepared and are of the purest quality.
These are our own formulas,” he says.

Also available here are raw honey and specially made herbal cosmetic items like karisalanganni kaajal, herbal powders nalangu mavu, seekai powder, hair oil, face pack, hair pack, soaps,
shampoos, toothpowders and dyes. Pooja items, spices, nuts and dry fruits seeds are among the other things sold.

Mylai Siva Naatu Mooligai Marundu Kadai was founded by Sivapoosanam Chettiar and is currently being run by his third-generation descendants. Vimal Karthik is a post-graduate engineer who quit his job.

Products can be sent to far-off places too. He also has digital payment facility.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Preethi A Class Ladies Tailors.
Address: Shop no 3, Picnic Plaza, Luz Corner, Mylapore
(opposite Thirumylai MRTS)
Owner: E.Kuppuswamy
Phones: 9941565948, 9840105498.
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 9 pm.
Sunday holiday

This tailor makes trendy bridal blouses and undertakes embroidery work on blouses.

The work undertaken on blouses include Chikankaari, Zardosi, Aari work, Banjara, Gota work, mirror work, Kashidakari, Karchobi and Mukaish.

The ‘master cutter’ of the shop, Kuppuswamy says he has an experience of 36 years in tailoring. He has a team of skilled workmen.

“He shares his knowledge and novel ideas with the customers and also guides them in making their choice. He brings out the best design for every order,” says Preethi, his daughter, a dentist.

Unable to choose the right material choice for the blouse? Kuppuswamy can do it for you.

He charges Rs 1000 to stitch a ‘light’ embroidered-lining blouse. The price increases as per the heaviness and intricacy of the design. He takes a minimum of three days to a maximum of
2 weeks to finish the order, depending on the designs.

School uniforms, chudidars, traditional and in-style dresses for women and kids are also tailored here.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the owner: Karunanidhi
Location: Pavement on South Mada Street
Timings: 9 am to 8 pm.

Karunanidhi is a street hawker who sells banana leaves on the pavement of South Mada street. He says he has been in this business for the last 20 years.

Just the man to go to when you need leaves to serve 10/20 guests.

His rates are reasonable and depend mostly on the market rates. During the wedding season or when stocks run thin from the source, the prices go up, he says.

The cost of one full leaf is Rs 10 and a double side ‘cut’ leaf is Rs 5. Three or four pieces of small, single side leaves cost Rs 10.

He does not possess a phone.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: P. K. Digital Prints and Stickers
Address: 11/1A Block, Warren Road, Visalakshi Garden
Owner: Premkumar P. M.
Phone: 9094490903

Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 9.30 pm.
Sunday: 10 am to 2 pm.

This store makes sign boards – LED boards, backlight and front light boards, reflective stickers, number plates for bikes and sun control films, all on orders.

The shop also undertakes all types of printing work like brochures, visiting cards, banners, posters and envelopes.

Premkumar says he started his business eight years ago and has been successful. Customers come to him for his skill to carry out the orders with precision and for ‘reasonable’ rates.
He also visits his customers’ place to collect orders.

Prem charges Rs 7000 approximately for a 6×3 feet LED board with UV printing and powder-coated covering box.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Meena Appalams
Address: 85, Royapettah High Road (near Valluvar statue), Mylapore
Owner: Narayanan Ravi
Phone: 9884542475
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 10 am to 1pm and 5 to 8 pm. Sunday holiday.

The seasonal pickle – Maavadu – is selling fast at Meena Appalams.

Narayanan’s 25 years of experience of selling pickles has earned him a big number of regular customers. Not just Maavadu. Narayanan sells Mahalikizhangu, Avakkai and Mango Inji pickles as well.

Being a pro at this trade, Narayanan gives these tips for people making mavadu pickles – Vadu Manga bought and processed with stalks last longer. Spices must be added in the correct proportion. Narayanan procures vadu manga from Azhagarkoil, Madurai and from Koyembedu, Chennai.

Meena Appalams has a stock of maavadu pickles for 9 months in a year. The mavadu pickle which comes in pet bottles costs Rs 500 a kilo while half-a-kilo costs Rs 260.

The shop also sells other varieties of pickles, vathal, vadam, appalams, podis and savouries.

The foodstaff can be door-delivered and the payment can be done through GPay on the given phone number. But if you are visting the shop, call, check and then go there!

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: DRS Cane Works
Address: 259/112, TTK Road, Alwarpet.
Owner: D. Ramesh
Phone: 7810030319
Timings: 10 am to 8.30 pm, Monday to Saturday

Ramesh is the third-generation entrepreneur in this business. He says he can customise cane products like sofa sets, dining tables, racks, cots, garden and balcony furniture.

Ramesh’s team makes a variety of household products, laundry baskets, swings and cradles, as well.

DRS Cane Works also takes up servicing and repair of vintage cane furniture. “I only have a few readymade products for sale. Others are made on order. A lot of labour goes into making a cane product as it goes through five stages of processing. I also make cushions on request. Chairs as old as 85-years, from the Mylapore households, are brought here for servicing,” he said.

Ramesh says that with restaurants and stores increasingly using cane products, some of them turn to him for supplies.

Ramesh says cane products with a good coat of varnish can last for at least 30 years. Prices of a cane chair start at Rs 3500.

Cane is sent here from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. In Chennai, Ramesh sources his stock from Madhavaram.

By V. Soundararani


Address: Thanni-thotti Market zone
Owner: Usha M.
Phone: 9363513207
Timings: 7 am to 9 pm on all days

Usha has been selling earthenware at the same spot, opposite V. P. Koil Street junction, for the last 10 years. She sells a variety of clay utensils.

There are water pots with taps fixed, tumblers, keerai satti and mud kadaai. There are regular and blackened ones.

These apart, Usha also sells ovens, flower pots, flower (uruli) troughs, curd pots, gubera paanai and hundials of various shapes – the stocks vary. Mini curd pots are also available.
With her husband passing away, Usha says she manages the business assisted by her son, Udayakumar, who has a mild disability.

She sources these earthen wares from Periyapalayam. Born in a family of potters, Usha says she knows the nuances of this business.

A water pot of 3 litres capacity costs Rs 200. The prices vary as per the capacity.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Sri Sastha Sabari Tailoring
Owner: C Kapaleeswaran
Address: 13, PNK Garden 1st Street / near Mundagakanni
Amman MRTS station, Mylapore.
Phone numbers: 8939596955, 8939936055.
Timings: 10am to 8 pm on all days.

Kapaleeswaran of Sri Sastha Sabari Tailoring shop undertakes alteration work in all kinds of garments. His doorstep collection and delivery services have created a large pool of customers, especially senior citizens and office-goers. He does not charge extra for the pickup and delivery.

He charges Rs. 80 for saree pico fall, Rs. 59 for pant length alteration and Rs 75 for zip change. Clothes of men, women and kids can be altered here. He is also well versed in altering
the size and sleeve of blouses.

Kapaleeswaran says he is willing to travel across the city to pick up orders.

By V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Indra Service Centre
Owner: P Paulraj.
Address: 10, Ponnambala Vadhyar Street, Mylapore.
Phone: 42102810
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9.45 am to 9 pm.
Sunday – 9.45 am to 2 pm.

Indra Service Centre has been in the business of repairing kitchen appliances for the last 50 years. Good place for repair or spare part replacement of all brands of mixies, gas stoves, cookers, grinders, microwave stoves, kettles, coffee makers and rice cookers.

Here is a team of five skilled staff members at work. The team can provide solutions to all kinds of problems arising in kitchen appliances; the shop has a loyal base of customers. Charges are reasonable, say customers.

The big stock of components stacked up in the store is proof for the pace of services handled here.

Indra Service Centre belongs to the chain of Indra Brass Pooja Metals stores which is located on Sannidhi Street.

Report by V. Soundararani


Name of the shop: Western Bags
Owner: Mujeeb Rahman
Address: 119, Eldams Road, Teynampet.
Phone: 8122311323
Timings: 9 am to 9 pm (all days)

Mujeeb Rahman has been in the business of repairing bags and suitcases for the last 20 years: he has been at the same spot on Eldams Road for this many years. His loyal customers come to him to get their bags, be it cloth, denim, rexine or leather, repaired. He is also trained to repair suitcases.

People can also get their zippers changed here: handles are repaired and trolley wheels changed, among other services.

Rahman also sells all types of travel bags at his shop.

Report by V. Soundararani

Embroidery & School Uniform Stitching

Name of the shop: A One Embroidery & Tailoring
Owner: S. A. Shaik Mohammed
Address: 7/3, Mathalanarayanan Street
Phones: 9841163956, 9444004289
Timings: Monday to Saturday 9.30 am to 8 pm. Sunday is a holiday.

A One Embroidery shop & Tailoring specialises in machine embroidery, fancy embroidery, fashion tailoring, aari work and bridal blouses. Here, embroidery is done on blouses, sarees and other dress materials.
Customers get to choose froma variety of designs and that aspect is winning appreciation from all.

Shaik Mohammed says he has been running this shop for 45 years. He has employed a few workers to execute the orders.

The charges depend on the intricacy of the design opted for and range from Rs 500 for a simple design to a few thousands.

Customers can see an array of patterns on display inside the shop. School uniform stitching with their respective school logos is also undertaken here.

Report by V. Soundararani

Power Tools rental, service

Name of the shop: Sai Power Tools
Owner: Vijay V
Address: 294/142, R K Mutt Road, R. A. Puram ( opp. Metro station workground)
Phones: 9841183145, 9841077046.
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 8 pm
Sunday: 8 am to 1 pm.

Sai Power Tools rents out power tools for daily use. These tools are required for and are employed by skilled workmen – like plumber, mason, carpenter, electrician, painter in building construction/alteration projects.

There is an array of tools starting from smaller hand tools to bigger ones like air compressors. Drilling machine, cutting machine, welding, grinding machines and wall breaker are among those commonly used for alteration works in the building industry. Hire charges of simple tools start from Rs 70 per day.

The shop undertakes servicing of all these tools too.

Cold pressed cokking Oils
Vinayaga Marachekku Oil
Owner: Navabharathi Prakashvell

Address: 147, R K Mutt Road, RA Puram (near KVB Gardens side), Phones: 35633368, 9677066397.

Wood pressed cold rolled cooking oils are sold here. The wood press machine and the oil extraction process is on on this premises.

Customers are free to bring their own oil seeds, but can feed the machine only if there is a minimum of 10 kgs. The charge is Rs 50 per kilo.

Wood pressed coconut, sesame and groundnut oils are readily available. Cost is Rs. 300, 360, 260 per litre respectively.

Also sold are castor oil and brown sugar (naatu chakkarai). Wood press process releases lesser oil (5 to 6 lts per 10 kilo depending on the quality of the oil seeds) than the iron press, whereas the latter releases more heat into the oil.

The shop is two years old and offers special prices on the oils during festival times.

Report by V. Soundararani

Kitchen Needs: traditional grinding stones
Selvi Stores
Owner: S Raja

Address: 66, North Mada Street, Mylapore.
Phone no: 9444386118, 9551600725
Timings: 10 am to 8 pm. ( all days).

Selvi Stores sells the traditional grinding stones that are manually used in the kitchen and made out of stone.

Endiram-thirugai also called chakki or raaikkal and items like aattural, ammi are available in varying sizes that can be fitted/placed in your kitchen or in the backyard of your house. The endiram with the rotating handle is used to make paruppu podi, idli podi, to make coarse dhal and grain rava, various powders and to halve whole pulses.

The handy mortar pestle, called idi kal, to crush spices, made of stone is also available in various sizes. Also sold here are miniatures of all these items – you can display these in show cases or let kids play with them or use them for pooja purposes.

A 10 inch thirugai endiram costs Rs 1500. These stone items are sourced from Coimbatore region.

The store also sells kalchatti used for cooking – to make kuzhambu – and eeyachombu, made out of tin, for making rasam.

Report by V. Soundararani

Jaggery, salted grams, organic brown sugar
Thirumylai Varukadalai Nilayam
Owner: M. Srinivasan

Address: 136, Kutchery Road (near E1 Police Station)
Phone: 9841136485
Timings: Monday to Saturday 9.45 to 9 pm
Sundays – 9.45 am to 2 pm.

This 45 year old simple, peanut-selling shop is well-known for stocking pure jaggery of superior quality (paahu vellam) suitable for making sweets.

You can also buy delicious, salted and fried grams of channa and peas (uppukkadalai) specially made from chosen quality pulses. The shop-owner says they have had regular, outstation customers of the past 20 years.

Organic brown sugar (naatuchcharkarai) that is pure and chemical-free is another speciality at the shop.

All these apart, a wide range of goodies – candies of groundnut, pori, corn flakes and more made in the shop are sold in packets.

Jaggery costs Rs 120 a kilo, presently.

Report by V. Soundararani

Owner: D. Mohana Krishnan

Address: 70/137, R K Mutt Road, Mandaveli.
Phone: 9952944766.Timings: Monday to Saturday:
9 am to 9 pm; Sunday: 9 am to 1 pm

Looking for a place that can frame your photos / pictures?
Look no further than M. Saravana Perumal Frame Designer Works, which offers framing
services and has been in existence for 13 years.

Mohana Krishnan, who has been in the business for 24 years, uses teakwood, synthetic frames in a range of designs and mounting material to lend a smart look to the completed work. He always has enough samples of a variety of framing materials at his shop. You can bring your wall hangings, artwork, family photos or aesthetic mirrors for framing. The shop is known for its neat work and timely delivery.

Basic framing of a 6”x4” size picture will cost you about Rs.100. If you want unique, costly frames, then the charge will be in thousands.

Report by V. Soundararani

  • Batter: idli, dosa and siru dhaniyam mix

Name: Krishna Foods

Address: East Mada Street, Mylapore.
Timings: All days: 10 am to 9 pm.

This shop makes dosa batter adding special grains like ragi, wheat, bajra, corn and wheat – called siru dhaniyam. This helps people who require it for a day’s use and cannot make small quantities of batter everyday at home.

The regular idli / dosa batter is also available daily. One day in the week is marked for the sale of batter using grains. Also, on one particular day there is a sale of batter to make appams.
Price is Rs 40 per kilo, Rs 20 per half kilo.

Address: 34, East Mada Street, Mylapore.

  • Servicing Steel Cupboard, Locks

Lakshmi Furniture Service
Owner: N Devarajan

Address: 94, Veera Perumal Koil Street, Mylapore
Phones: 9841282090, 9003091981 (available 24 hrs for emergency calls)
Timings: 9.30 am to 1.30 pm, 5 to 8 pm Monday to Saturday.

Mostly offering door-step based service, the shop undertakes servicing and repair of steel cupboard locks, handles and key duplication. Painting, door repair, rust removal are also part of the services.

Velmurugan D. here also services electronic lockers, being the authorised service agent of Godrej locks. Key duplication and lock repairs are done at the shop for visiting customers.

He helps to open locked doors, service old doors, provide door closures, door chains and door stoppers.

The shop has been in business for 28 years.

Report by V. Soundararani

  • Gurusamy Nursery
    Owner: Suthakar A

Address: 19, Chitrakulam North Street (near Gandhi statue), Mylapore
Phone: 9962860401
Timings: 8 am to 9 pm on all seven days

Gurusamy Nursery sells materials for home gardening including grow bags, mud pots, coco peat, organic manure—vermicompost, insecticides like panchakavyam, meenamilam and so on.

Started by current owner Suthakar’s father, M Arasappan, this 18-year-old nursery also sells saplings of rare varieties such as nagalingappoo, vanni and vilvam.

Saplings of flowering plants like hibiscus, shenbagam, manoranjitham, pavazhamalli, malli, kodi sampangi and kanakambaram are available here. The price of flower saplings begins at Rs 20 while whole tree saplings cost Rs 100 onwards.

If you plan to start a kitchen garden, seeds to grow cabbage, radish, brinjal, lady’s finger, tomato, etc. as also for indoor plants, snake plants, ZZ plants and so on are sold here.

Suthakar and his team can help you set up a garden and take care of it through monthly or weekly maintenance services. The fee is Rs 800 onwards for a man day’s work.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: A. Ansari

Address: Luz Bazaar Complex, 4/30, R K Mutt Road (opp. Mylai MRTS)
Phones: 9884560445, 9840651743.
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 10 am to 9 pm; Sundays: 10 am to 2 pm

Think arts and crafts requirements, think Wahab Stores, the go-to place for all types of fabric and base material for making soft toys, glass painting, fabric painting, Tanjore painting, canvas and so on. It also sells craft requirements for schoolchildren such as bead dazzlers, adhesives, ribbons, stitch kits and Camlin and Fevicryl products.

The shop has a good stock of threads, borders, laces, satin cloth, curtain tapes and rings. And if you are worried about the finishing end of the spectrum, you can get glass etching and framing of your artwork done here. Also available are an array of cane products such as trays and baskets with lids.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: Subramanian

Address: 81/43, R K Mutt Road, near Mylapore post office)
Phone: 9840495550
Timings: 10 am to 9 pm from Monday to Saturday (Lunch break: 2 pm to 3.30 pm)
Closed on Sunday

Pearl City Service Centre repairs and services all kinds of household appliances such as gas stoves, mixers, grinders, iron boxes, fans, heaters and so on. Owned by Subramanian, the centre has been around for close to 15 years now.

The charges for the services are quite reasonable. Mixie services start at Rs. 150. A basic service for an ordinary gas stove will set you back Rs. 200. The charges will vary depending on the type of service or repair required. Turnaround time is pretty quick, sometimes less than 24 hours.

Report by Baskar Seshadri


Address: 84, Chitrakulam North Street (near Velleeswarar Temple) Mylapore.
Phone: 9444069738, 7338771138.
Timings: All days: 7 am to 9 pm.

Ramachandran’s shop sells whole and cut banana leaves (vazhai illai). He ensures that the round banana leaves that are placed over dining plates are always well stocked!

Eateries and restaurants are his regular customers. Individuals head to this nook on special tithis and when there are functions at home.

While the price of cut leaves starts at Rs. 5 each, it’s Rs. 15 for one full leaf (muzhu illai). The price varies depending on the demand for the day or season. Door delivery is considered for orders of 100 leaves and more.

As the name suggests, the shop also sells coconuts at wholesale prices.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: E. Askar Ali

Address: 4, Luz Bazaar Complex, R K Mutt Road (opposite Mylai MRTS station)
Phones: 044-42329061, 9884660358.
Timings: Monday to Saturdays:10 to 9 pm. Sundays: 10 am to 2 pm

Though the name reads Deluxe Plastics, the shop sells eco-friendly and biodegradable products like areca nut (paakku mattai thattu) and sugarcane fibre plates and cups, trendy jute bags and rafia bags (woven polypropylene bags with mesh-covered plastic layer). Also on sale are paper bags of different sizes, models and designs, which are in demand during the festival seasons.

Disposable paper, bio-cups, plates, tissue papers and toilet rolls are available at the shop, as are biodegradable muhurtha bags with appropriate prints.

The items are reasonably priced. For instance, a 12-inch areca plate costs Rs. 10 each if you buy a minimum of 10 plates.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Contact: Akbar Basha

Address: 59/21, Bazaar Road, Mylapore
Phones: 9176740199, 9094487864
Timings: All days 8 am to 9 pm

This 40-year-old shop undertakes servicing of all types of cycles, ranging from the basic model to mountain terrain bikes (MTB), single-speed bicycles, hybrid cycles with gears and so on. The owner generally manages to procure any type of spare required for a replacement.

The speciality of this shop is that it offers door-to-door delivery of the cycles to be serviced.

This offer is exclusive to customers residing in Mylapore area. The cycle will be picked up and delivered to the doorstep when it is ready. Another related service that the shop owner, Akbar Basha, offers is facilitating the sale of used cycles.

Report by V. Soundararani

  • Cobbler Service
    Contact: Ravikumar

Address: Opposite State Bank of India, Venkatakrishna Road, Mandaveli
Phone: 6380485616
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm (Monday – Saturday); 9 am to 2 pm (on Sunday)

Ravikumar mends footwear, including stitching back a toe ring that has snapped open, fixing holes and executing repairs on chappals, sandals and shoes of all types—rubber, leather, canvas, etc. He has been providing this service for almost 20 years now. He took over from his father-in-law, who ran the show for close to thirty years.

Ravikumar’s charges are very reasonable, ranging from around Rs. 10 for a simple, basic service to a max of Rs. 150 to 180 for bigger and more complex repairs.

By Baskar Seshadri

  • Cleanex Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Address: 28, Greenways Road, R. A. Puram (near Andhra Mahila Sabha)
Phone: 43156999, 9629984888
Timings: 9 am to 8 pm. (Call before you go)

Cleanex is a chain of outlets in the city. Roll polishing of sarees, done at a reasonable cost, is an attractive feature here.

The roll polish process makes the cotton and silk sarees look as good as new, free of fine wrinkles. The sarees (even dhotis, if you choose to give them) get a little bit of stiffness (with a coat of starch), which lends them a smart look.

Other services at the laundry include dry cleaning, steam pressing, washing, bleaching and darning of all garments.

The charge for roll polishing a cotton saree is about Rs.60. For silk sarees, the base price is Rs. 80. Depending on the density and intricacy of the jari work, the price rises.

Report by V. Soundararani

  • Fathima Thuni Nool Kadai
    Owner: AbuBacker

Address: 87, Kutcheri Road (near Mylapore Post Office)
Phone: 9940020678
Timings: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 9.30 pm

The shop sells a wide range of tailoring needs: sewing threads, lining materials, saree falls, bobbins and bobbin cases, needles, fancy buttons, poplins used for in-skirts and so on. The prices here are reasonable, with the best lining material costing around Rs. 50 a metre.

Fathima Thuni Nool Kadai also offers related services. These include stitching blouses and churidars, fixing saree falls and undertaking pico for silk sarees. AbuBacker also does knotting—creating a decorative pattern produced by interlacing and tying knots in various yarns.

The business was started by AbuBacker’s father, Shahul Hameed, in 1972 and has completed 50 years.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: Akbar

Address: 43, Bazaar Road (off Kutcheri Road). Phone: 9283112517
Timing: Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm

Akbar Herbal Mill specialises in dry grinding of exclusive and special-use podis. Turmeric powder, herbal powders and aromatic powders for external use, which need special care, are processed here.

There are seven machines that Akbar operates: one each for every category—medicinal powders, aromatic powders, turmeric powder, shikakai powder and so on. This is done to avoid contamination and the mixing of flavours. He even has a separate machine for grinding turmeric powder that’s mixed with milk.

The medicinal powders that are ground here include prasava marundhu, diabetes powder and kashaya podi, as well as vasanai podi and payaru maavu used to bathe infants.

It costs Rs. 120 to 140 per kilo of the raw material that you bring. You can customise the mix of raw materials for your podi.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: Mohd Riyaz

Address: 225, TTK Road (near Vinayakar Temple at junction of Beemanna Garden Street)
Phone: 9840704759. Timings: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm.

Mohd Riyaz can make duplicate keys for twowheelers (NOT for four-wheelers) and locks, provided a sample is given to him. He uses a key cutting machine that reads the pits and bumps of the sample provided. The process takes less than 10 minutes for one key.

Riyaz charges around Rs 150 for duplicating one key. Riyaz does not undertake cases where the keys are lost and
there is no “original” to be duplicated. It will entail a visit to the site to see the lock, and the cutting machine will not be of help in such cases.

Riyaz also makes rubber stamps.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: R Prabhakaran

Location: On pavement opposite Veeraperumal Koil Street
junction, R H Road.

Phone/WhatsApp: 9380063192, 9840155782
Timings: 6 am to 8 pm all days

Though he calls it a fruit shop, selling vazhai ilai (banana leaves) is the main business for Prabhakaran.
Assisted by his mother, Prabhakaran has been in the business for 18 years now.

He manages a fruit stall too.

His clients are tea stalls that sell bajji-bonda, small restaurants and pavement food hawkers. Households also order whole leaves and cut leaves for rituals and ceremonies. The rates vary depending on the size of the leaf, whether cut or full and whether it is a normal day, an auspicious or inauspicious day, etc. It starts at Rs10 for a full leaf.

For an order for ten-plus leaves, Prabhakaran offers door delivery to areas within a kilometre radius.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: Velu S

Address: New 13 Veeraperumal Koil Street, (near Thannithurai Market)
Phone / WhatsApp: 9962479418
Timings: 9 am to 8 pm all days

Velu undertakes alteration of women’s and men’s dresses and restitching of clothes that do not fit anymore, including churidars, blouses, pants, shirts, sherwanis and waistcoats, at Alteration Point, his 25-year-old shop off RH Road.

Stitching new dresses was his forte in the early years when he stepped into the business 40 years ago. Now, he strictly takes up only alteration and restitching. He says it brings better returns.

He handles all the orders single-handedly. He says he is a Mylaporean from birth.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: K A Kumar

Address: 100/64, Bazaar Road
Phones: 9445163906, 9941280685
Timings: 9 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday

Sri Jayakumar Oil Stores, which has been in business for sixty years, offers on-the-spot wood or iron cold pressing of groundnut, dry coconut, and sesame oils from seeds. The charges are approximately Rs. 35 per kilo. If taken in large quantities, it becomes cost-effective. Gingelly oil, used exclusively for pooja and bathing, costs around Rs. 240 a kilo.

You can also get readily available cold-pressed oils here. The prices vary depending on the market prices of the seeds.

Presently, the cost of gingelly and coconut oils is around Rs 320 per kilo, while groundnut oil costs Rs 240. The country variety of seeds is used for oil extraction. The residue, namely the oil cake, is also sold here.

Report by V. Soundararani

    Owner: AK Abdul Azeez.

Address: No.91, Kutchery Road, Timings: 10 am to 9 pm, Monday to Saturday

Contact: Basha. Phone: 9952094324, 8072737958.

At this 90-year-old shop, started by Abdul Karim, you can get your metal decorative items and artifacts lacquered.

Lacquer polishing adds a coating on the exterior surface to prevent the metal from getting tarnished due to humidity.

Other services that the shop offers include repairing and polishing gold, silver and covering articles; making and polishing medals and shields in silver, copper, brass and nickel; and panchaloka polishing in five metal colours.

The shop is now owned and managed by Karim’s son, Abdul Azeez.

By V. Soundararani

    Contact: Shanthi

Address: Royapettah High Road (near old Thannithotti Market, Mylapore)

Phone: 9087111341. Timings: 5.30 am – 8.30 pm, all days.

Shanthi sells betel leaves, and only betel leaves. She sells in wholesale baskets, or in kavuli (100 leaves) that costs Rs 70 presently, sometimes even less than that. This retail local business has been running for some 50 years, she says. The shop owner Kumar recently passed away; Shanthi is his relative. She can be reached on phone. She stays put at her pavement side post – selling betel leaves all through the day, sitting under an umbrella if the sun hurts, near the gate of S&S Apartments.

– Report by V. Soundararani

    Managed by R Santhosh

Address: No 94, Greenways Road, R A Puram ( opp. Hotel Raj Palace).

Timings: 9.30 am to 9.30 pm: Monday – Saturday. Half a day on Sunday.

WhatsApp & Phone: 8825970210.

This shop is owned by R. Santosh. It makes metal name boards, offers Sun Control film coating service for vehicles and buildings and full body stickers for vehicles. The store’s speciality is making rubber stamps and LED and gel number plates for vehicles at wholesale rates. These may be customised and
delivered in a short time. The store offers doorstep service too.

– By V. Soundararani

    Managed by Tamizharasi

Address: 1 R K Mutt Road, Mylapore
(opposite Thirumayilai MRTS)

Timings: 9 am to 9 pm all days

WhatsApp and Phone: 98410 70315

Tamizharasi, the owner, has the skill to service all kinds of clocks and watches —
pendulum, solar-powered, vintage wall clock, timepiece, battery operated and even a smart watch. Backed by her rich experience at a well-known service agency, Tamizharasi opened her shop a few months ago. One can also get batteries and watch straps replaced at the shop. Besides watch repair, she has a photocopier and offers printing services here.

– By Baskar Seshadri

    Contact: Raja

Address: 224/2A RK Mutt Road, Mandaveli (Opp. TVS showroom)

Open Monday through Saturday. Sundays closed. Landline: 42173660; WhatsApp: 9884262565

Generic Allopathic medicines are available at reduced prices at Bharat Vikas Generic Medical Shop managed by Bharat Vikas Parishad Jana Seva Trust (BVPJS Trust). The Trust’s only outlet in Chennai, the shop stocks generic antibiotics and vitamin and mineral tablets, as well as medicines prescribed for diabetes, BP, gastric-related problems, neurological disorders, etc. The cost reduction on the retail prices is quite significant.

– Report by V Soundararani

    Owner: Ethiraj, Jaya

Address: No.110, TTK Road (near Bheemanna Garden junction) Alwarpet.

Timings: 9 am to 7 pm (Mon to Sat). Sundays 9 am to 1 pm.
Phone: 9444637645

Murugan Maavu Mill is where you can get grains and spices dry ground. Chilli, wheat, food grains, curry masala, dosa podi, sambar podi, rasa podi and murukku maavu are some of the things you can get done here.

The staff in charge notes the instructions on every order, such as coarse grinding, smooth finish or processing the grains without mixing them.

On one day of the week, the shop offers grinding of poosu manjal thool (pure turmeric powder for external use). The minimum order accepted is half a kilo. You will need to leave the raw material and your phone number with the staff in advance. Once the blades are changed for this exclusive grinding, you will be informed about it.

The shop also has a separate machine for shikakai podi grinding.

– Report by V Soundararani


    Contact: Jayaprakash B

Address: 3/2, Thiruvalluvar Salai, off Eldams Road
WhatsApp and Phone: 7338870502 / 9894851963

Timings: 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturdays.
Sunday till 1pm.

The store has an exclusive space for servicing all brands of pressure cookers, gas stoves, wet grinders and mixers. It is also stocked well with various spare parts for these appliances. (This space is part of a stainless steel, household objects selling store)

The team of technicians are experienced in setting right fault/repairs. A special feature – they have spares and solutions for the gas stove hobs and its burner top discs. House visits closeby undertaken.

– Reported by V. Soundararani

    Run by Chennai Corporation.

Address: Mandaveli Street ( near the market zone).

Timings: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (closes by 3 p.m.); Monday to Saturday. No phone line.

Chennai Corporation runs this Homeopathy Clinic in Mandaveli. The doctor treats people for cough and colds as well as the early stages of diabetes, blood pressure, etc. She also provides treatment as preventive care for Corona virus – to boost your immunity. Medicines are stocked here and the check-up, treatment and medicines are free to all people.

It is located behind the Mandaveli Post Office and since this GCC campus is in the interior, people tend to miss it.

Best time to check in here is between 8.30 am and noon.

– Input for this Nook came from Satya Venkatesh

This is a weekly post on less known, less flashy local, reliable shops / services we may need often. If you know of one such, do share details in the COMMENT section so we can write on it!

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