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Much more in store

City shops are opening up to cafes, spas and even yoga classes to attract patrons to their premises.

entertainment Updated: Apr 28, 2011 13:12 IST
Megha Mahindru

When Ajit Singh Tapaswi and his French girlfriend Maud decided to convert a rundown villa, in Bandra’s fishing village of Chimbai, into a plush Mediterranean café, they had just one intention. “We wanted to create a homely experience and share it with our diners,” he says.

His newly opened Yoga House works as a holistic concept store offering yoga classes, cotton clothes, kitchen vessels and grains, all while serving an exotic menu of chai and health food. “Maud is into yoga and we put this place together combining the best of our healthy lifestyles,” adds Tapaswi.

Milling around
Making the most of your shopping experiences, stores across the city are adding additional services to entice patrons. At Le Mill, a former rice mill now converted into a high-end home décor, that also makes place for a florist, clothing and accessories store, you can also enjoy a wholesome meal in the café tucked into a corner. “The idea of placing a café inside was to give clients an opportunity to spent more time here. We are located a bit out of the way, so we wanted our patrons to stay a while, rather than browse quickly and leave,” says Cecilia Morelli Parikh, co-founder of the store.

Playing footsie
At Colaba’s Trunk, you can pamper yourself at the fish therapy spa the next time you’re shopping for skinny jeans. Owner Prateek Sheth says, “The spa became more popular than the store. People, who weren’t even shopping at Trunk, made appointments for the treatments.” Though Sheth’s store is currently relocating, the demand for fish therapy made him install a makeshift counter at PVR theatre in Lower Parel. The Collective at Palladium, Lower Parel is another grooming hotspot. Along with designer suits and shoes, the showroom also boasts of a Jean Claude Biguine salon. Grooming seems to be a popular way of keeping customers’ interest piqued, as demonstrated by stores like Andheri’s Wedding Café and Lounge which offer everything from an image consultant to an à la carte menu as well as an array of teas.

Stone age
But Lower Parel’s Café Verandah takes things a step further. While you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a quick bite, the location is actually a marble store, disguised as an eatery. The cat’s out of the bag only once you discover that pillars, floors, even chairs and tables are made of different types of marble, all product samples. “Our store is not a barista. It’s more of a design studio than a coffee shop, where clients can handpick the marble they like,” says owner Vishal Manghnani.