City Markets – The Chiltan Shop, Avanue Center, Streechen Road

The Chiltan Shop was setup in early 70s and it still looks as if it’s 1970 in there. However please note that it may look vintage but certainly not old or worn out. It is very well maintained and organized. The original layout is basic but elegant. It has that old world calm. That old world charm.

The staff is congenial and welcoming. They realize that I need time to absorb my surrounding and they let me be. There are display shelves on the left wall which displays handicrafts made with marble. There is a table for the cashier and a display shelf on the ground a little further. The table has a typewriter too which looks like in working condition. There is a kid sitting next to the cashier desk reading newspaper. The right wall does not have any shelves and traditional dresses are displayed on the wall. There are carpets stacked below which are the most popular running item in the shop as the staff tells me.

I had earlier met one of the salesman in Lyari and bought a baluchi chappal from there. He recognizes me and I recognize him too. It feels like two friends meeting after sometime. He runs me through each item in the shop. Almost all handicrafts come from Quetta or nearby areas. Marble work has been stopped and they are just carrying old stock which is selling at a discount. Their main merchandise now are traditional clothing and carpets but they always consider the possibility of custom orders. The salesman from Lyari leads me to the backroom where they have more stock. We walk through a neatly setup office which has wood paneling on the walls. It’s in pristine condition. We walk towards the backroom where there is a large stock of marble handicrafts. Even the back store is neat and clean. Something quiet unusual for government funded institutes where there is little incentive or checks for employee or institution performance. This kind of ownership also reflects in the pride with which staff deals with customers.

We walk back to the main hall. Staff tells me that the shop is open Monday to Friday and they also plan to open a shop in Zamzama soon. I hope they open more shops but never let go of this shop in Avanue Center on Streechen Road.

P.S. I suspect this road was named after James Stratchan, one of the most influential urban planner in Karachi’s history and it somehow became Streechen on the visiting cards and directions. The road was later named after Din Muhammad Wafai.


Categories: City Markets

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2 Comments on “City Markets – The Chiltan Shop, Avanue Center, Streechen Road”

  1. Anonymous
    October 11, 2019 at 10:28 pm #

    Beautifully written with appealing photos.

  2. October 12, 2019 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you Karachiwala for documenting the Karachi of yesteryear to keep it alive.

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