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Come monsoon, and Mumbai’s oldest umbrella store, Ebrahim Currim & Sons, draws in the crowds. We visited the trusted enterprise to check what keeps them going
Today, 155 years later, Ebrahim Currim & Sons, on the busy Princess Street is more of a landmark than an enterprise that stocks umbrellas in all shapes and sizes. When we enter, we notice a colourful range of umbrellas on display — from a heart-shaped umbrella with frills to the Disney cartoon print, everything is assembled under a roof, and sold under the Stag brand.
A range of umbrellas on display at Ebrahim Currim & Sons. Pic/Shadab Khan
It’s a hectic time for Zameel Currim, the fifth generation owner who runs the business. He says, “We’re the oldest in the city in this profession. However, we are largely manufacturers than traders. It’s only during the rains that we’re open to customers.” Ringing with a steady stream of customers even during weekdays, Currim talks about the responsibility of maintaining the consumer base that goes beyond providing quality assurance. “We also believe in variety. Women and children like fashionable umbrellas. We understand their needs and design accordingly,” he believes.
The shop has come a long way, from bamboo and steel-lined umbrellas to fibre models, these days. “Lately, all the products we sell are fitted with fibre coating that prevents rusting contrary to steel plating. The product is stronger and doesn’t up-turn when it’s breezy,” informs Currim.
A clipping of Stag Umbrellas in mid-day dated June 21, 1992
“The important part is that my business doesn’t just operate during the monsoons. I cater to all the industries that you could possibly think of,” he tells us, with a smile. “For instance, I cater to hotels like the The Trident, The Taj Mahal Palace and The Leela,” he adds.
Over the years, the business has branched out to other cities like Chennai and Kozhikode (Calicut). Named as Parry’s in Chennai, they stock about 100 types of varieties. “The reason we branched out to these places is because they receive heavy rainfall. We saw the demand and established a market in its response,” reveals Currim.
Around the time when we’re heading out, a torrential downpour greets us, and more people scurry into Ebrahim Currim & Sons to find their best fit for the season, that is both stylish and reasonable.
At: 42-48, Rahim Building, S Gandhi Marg, (near Juma Masjid), Princess Street, Kalbadevi.