April 03, 2004
Popat Store

Saturday mornings are about going walking down to the high-street to get the week’s supply of fruit and veg. (Every suburban town in London has a high-street.) Our high street (Kingsbury) has two quarter-mile long parades of shops - a couple of run-down arcades and a tube station. It is a very busy, slow-traffic road at the weekends - but I really enjoy coming down here on a Saturday morning. There must be around 10 different fruit & veg shops all competing for your custom - and you can usually fill up a couple of large carrier-bags of groceries for less than five pounds.

Apart from fruit and veg shops - London high-streets also feature several pharmacies, a few hairdressers, TV repair shops, some jewellers, locksmiths, several meat shops, newsagents, off-licences, a run-down Woolworths, a laundromat, a post office, some banks and several takeaway food joints. These types of shops are all very typical of a bustling suburban high street.

HOWEVER: There is one type of shop that you will only find in areas where there are plenty of Indians. It’s hard to put this type of shop into any particular category - but you can instantly tell what I mean by seeing the picture:

Popat Store: spills out onto the pavement - and sells everything you could possibly need.
(This particular shop is actually in Ealing Road Wembley - taken from top-deck of Route 79)

Yes - wherever there is an Indian/Asian population - you will find this type of shop - it sells mops, brooms, plastic chairs, bin-liners, kitchen gloves, bins, buckets, cutlery, bowls, clocks - and all sorts of home and kitchen gadgets that you never thought you really needed. The stuff for sale will almost invariably be spilling out over the pavement at the front of the shop - and almost everything is no more than a couple of pounds in price. The proposition is this: “Why go to Homebase or B&Q - when you can get the same thing cheaper from here?”.

I love shops like this. My local high-street would not be the same without them.

Posted by jag at April 03, 2004 11:50 PM

This type of shop is not known as a “Popat Store”. Popat Store just happens to be the name of the shop in the picture. (Just in case the question is aked!)

Posted by: Jag on April 4, 2004 11:10 AM

I’d call them hardware stores; although they aren’t strictly - it’s a good all-encompassing term.

Posted by: Vicky on April 4, 2004 12:16 PM

i love popat stores, full of useful crap and sometimes useless, but good for cheap stuff u need. kingsbury wouldnt be kingsbury without one!

Posted by: Jaina on April 4, 2004 02:39 PM

Vicky: yes - hardware store is prob the best description - but I usually reserve that for your B&Q and Homebase type of store - so maybe “Indian Convenience Hardware Store” is better?

Jaina: couldn’t agree more!

Posted by: Jag on April 4, 2004 03:16 PM

Once upon a time in America, we used to call these “five and dime” stores because most everything was 5 or 10 cents. Sadly this ages me something fierce but in my defense, it would have been thus before I was born. By the time I was old enough to have a concept of the value of things (or the cost as the case may be), goods had gone up to a dollar - even though it wasn’t exclusively that price. Eventually they were called “dollar” stores, but we all still called them the five and dime.

I think good old Woolies was originally a five and dime…

Posted by: Lisa on April 4, 2004 03:58 PM

Hi Lise - I think you’re right - even today - I have noticed some “poundstretcher” stores on various London high streets - where everything in the store is supposedly no more than 1 pound! I have to admit that “five and dime” sounds a lot cooler though. I didn’t realise that Woolies was in this genre - but I do know that the very first Marks & Spencer (St. Michael) was originally supposed to be a “penny” store - i.e where everything in the shop was no more than one penny in price! Goodness - we are getting old aren’t we?

Posted by: Jag on April 4, 2004 08:39 PM

I love your pictures! You are a master of color and composition!

That is all.


Posted by: Dawn on April 7, 2004 09:27 PM

Hi Dawn - why thank you so much for your kind words. I am flattered!

Posted by: Jag on April 7, 2004 10:26 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?

You MUST preview this comment first!
(Apologies but I'm trying to keep the spam-bots out.)

Powered By: Movable Type | Blog Styles | Love Productions | bradchoate.com | SmartyPants | Linux | MT-Blacklist | MySQL | Zeus | Easyspace
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Route79.com - London (UK). Most Rights Reserved. Syndicate this site (XML)