Delhi’s iconic Khan Market loses sheen as major stores close amid lockdown


Soon after the Delhi government allowed the reopening of various public spaces including malls and markets, one of the capitals most expensive markets – Khan Market regained its crowd and customers.

But, unfortunately, its pride – iconic stores like Full Circle and Turtle Cafe, Sidewok and Smokeys Delhi, disappeared in the aftermath of the lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The major reason for this is the “failed negotiation” over the rent contract between the owners of these historical stores and their landlords.

Khan Market is amongst the most expensive markets not only in the national capital but also in the county. According to a survey conducted by global property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, Khan Market is the 20th most expensive market in the world.

Speaking to IANS over the phone, Priyanka Malhotra, the owner of Full Circle and Turtle Cafe narrated her emotional connect and her 20 years of relationship with this bookstore-cum-Cafe.

“This café-cum-bookstore was started back in 1998. We moved to Khan Market in 2000. This family business was started by my mother and we were continuously involved in its daily operations and is very close to our heart as it grew organically over the years.”

“We didn’t want to leave and we were hoping not to leave, but surviving became difficult,” she concluded.

Café Turtle isn’t the only one who faced the issue, as the future of many other stores in the market is also under a cloud. Smokehouse Deli, a renowned food chain is also under the process of negotiations. Speaking to IANS, Satyajit from Smokehouse said, “I would not be commenting on the issue as we are still under the talks and negotiations stage and this is not the appropriate time to say anything.”

When IANS visited the iconic market in Central Delhi, people have now started coming back and are shopping with their masks on, ticking the social distancing norms on their checklist at the top.

Anshu Tandon, President, Market Association Khan Market said, “It’s unfortunate that most iconic brands like Café Turtle, Sidewok and maybe a couple more had to leave. The negotiations have failed to work out. If we have to sustain in such times cooperation between the people is most important. Wherever there is mutual consent, we are negotiating but otherwise it is very difficult.”

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