Sunday, September 28, 2008

A date with Parry's

From iron to plastics, vegetable to fruits, Parry’s Corner is a place for everything. Here, one can find everything from paper and textiles to cosmetics and decorations at affordable prices.

Parry’s Corner is one of the city’s business centres. Often referred to as Parry’s, the place is situated near Chennai Port, at the intersection of North Beach Road and Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose Road.

Named after Thomas Parry, who set up the EID Parry Company in 1787 (The corporate headquarters of EID Parry stands on the corner), the place is also a hub for intra city bus services. Parry’s Corner is an area that is vaguely defined and contains a number of streets. Though there are streets well-known for certain things, the peculiarity of Parry’s Corner is that one can have almost all things from a single street.

Anderson Street is well-known for wedding cards, with many shops exclusively for them. “Wedding card sales is a 365-day affair here,’’ says Govindan, a sales person. “Cards range from 50 paise to even Rs 150,’’ says A Mohamed Ali, manager, Olympic Cards. Books, pens, plastic files... as you go down Anderson Street, the things available keep varying till the end.

If you are walking along NSC Bose Road towards the Flower Bazaar police station, there is a narrow but crowded-street called Badrian Street. The fragrance of jasmine, rose and other flowers fills the air and will not miss your attention. The street is one of the retail flower trade centres in the city. Even though the wholesale market has shifted to Koyambedu, the name Flower Bazaar remains. As the sizeable Malayali population of the city is set to celebrate Onam, Badrian Street was witnessing brisk business on Saturday and Sunday. “This is the only place in the city where flowers are available in retail at affordable prices,’’ says Shylesh and Manikandan, a frequent visitor of the street.

The business in the shops here keep changing with season. Shops that now sell stationery will have a different look during Diwali, Christmas and New Year, selling crackers, Christmas props, diaries and calendars in the respective seasons. Other items will take a backseat,” said a store manager. Shops selling decoration items, flags, plastic flowers and ribbons, Bunder Street is a colourful lane. The street, again, carries seasonal wares and is very active in the beginning of the year. With pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, notebooks, files and all other paper items, the street is a living sign of how important paper and allied accessories are, even in the digital age.

Parry’s Corner is about 80 acres of commercial business space and the traders are a mix of Tamil, Telegu and Hindi-speaking people. Burma Bazaar, which got its name because Indian refugees and traders from Burma dominated the area once, is an area where one can find all sorts of imported goods, ranging from electronic gadgets to readymades and perfumes.

-Published in The New Indian Express on Monday August 27, 2007


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