Lost Business Opportunities

Or – Dying old businesses in Bangalore

Sometimes, when a business does not move at the right time, an opportunity can pass by forever. Well, forever is a long time, and businesses do reinvent themselves, but ofcourse it is much harder to rise out of a bad spell, than it is to move up when one is already doing well. What am I talking about?

Well, if you’re a Bangalorean or someone who has been visiting Bangalore for some period of time, you will know how popular a hangout Brigade Road used to be, and how well frequented, the two malls Mota Arcade and 5th Avenue were. Once upon a time, these were places choc-a-bloc with teenagers hanging out at cool places, and families on their weekend fun shopping. Then came the new malls, Garuda, Bangalore Central, Forum, Sigma…and no one remembered the old malls anymore. I passed by Mota Arcade a couple of days ago, and this is how it looked, desolate and empty, with just a few customers, inspite of outlets like Subway and Coffee World, that could attract a younger audience.

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Where did they lose out? Well, parking in Brigade Road is a nightmare, and families may well prefer places like Forum that offer super-efficient parking, even if they have to drive at bit. The comfortable ambience that the new malls offer, along with attractions like multiplexes (at both Garuda and Forum) is again far superior to the older complexes. So mall going becomes worthwhile since the quality and variety of stores and attractions (movies, household shopping, hanging around, restaurents all together) compensates for the drive there.

I get the feeling that perhaps the old building owners just got too comfortable, hey, we’re on prime real estate, Brigade Road, the center of town, where all the action is. Who could ever want to go elsewhere? But customers did, and more of more of them. Till most of the old places are just dying down. And now, when we’ve got used to these swanky malls with their polished floors, air conditioning, clean loos, and a chance to do everything at once, its going to be far tougher for the old guys to upgrade themselves, even if they want to.

Folks like me, who’ve been in Bangalore awhile, miss the old hangouts, purely out of nostalgia. Every now and then, we hear people talking about the old days, our theatres – Lido, Galaxy, Rex, Symphony – all dead or dying, and all our old hangouts slowly going away. But the truth is that these places just didn’t want to reinvent themselves while they could. They waited too long, until someone else came along and killed them, and now its too late!

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