Started in 1940, James and Company has customers spanning three generations
The quality of footwear at James and Company on Falnir Road remains the same, just like the building made of mud walls which is more than a century old.
As the economy flourished, modern concrete structures came up all around this tile-roof “house”. But the ambience of the building (which is a house) has not deterred the footwear dealer from continuing his business for over 50 years.
Customers continue to frequent the shop without bothering about the ambience. The shop still has old wooden furniture and wooden shoe racks.
“The unique selling proposition of our business was that we sell best quality footwear at the most reasonable price,” said Alwyn Rosario, who now manages the footwear store. “Some of our customers are with us for three generations now,” he said.
Mr. Rosario said that James and Company was founded by his father James G. Rosario on May 1, 1940. Then the shop was in a rented building where the present Government Wenlock Hospital building is now located. As the government acquired that land to build the hospital, his father shifted to the present building in 1961. Then it was owned by Lasrado and was later purchased by a businessman who is now the owner.
According to Mr. Rosario, the tile-roof house where James and Company operates on a rental basis is around 120 years old.
“Cricketer Syed Kirmani and actor late Shankar Nag have visited us,” he said.
Mr. Rosario said that many people from Mumbai for the annual car festival and visit his shop and purchase footwear.
He said it was his father and his uncle George D'Souza, managing partner, who developed the business. “My uncle had good customer relation,” he said.
Mr. Rosario said his shop supplied safety shoes to many industries and footwear to many hospitals in the city. Dedicated customers come from Kundapur, Karkala, and other parts of the district, he said.
Ajay Lobo from Bantwal said that he was a customer since 1995. “It is the quality of footwear and the price which drives me here,” he said.
Another customer Rakesh from Bolar said he had been purchasing shoes since eight years as the footwear was available at a reasonable price and with good quality.
Santhosh Kumar from Shaktinagar said that he had been purchasing footwear for the past five years.