Chennai’s Amma Naana, the store with flavours from around the world, opens a new outlet on ECR

The 54-year-old store Amma Naana started out as a milk depot but now stocks over 25,000 products from around the world

December 07, 2022 04:23 pm | Updated 04:42 pm IST

Senthil Raj with clients from three generations

Senthil Raj with clients from three generations | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For decades, Amma Naana on Chamiers Road has been introducing the city to international gourmet products. The 8,000 square feet store, spread over three floors, stocks over 25,000 products, with new ones being added every month.

But 54 years ago, it was an 800 square feet milk depot that also sold fruits and vegetables. “It was started by Raja Mani and VR Govindaswamy, my uncle and aunt,” says Senthil Raj who is a partner and helms operations. Over the years, as the locality developed, the store started selling food products. And so from 1978, it has been overflowing with a variety of cookies, cheese, cereals, chips, drinks, chocolates, noodles, and dry fruits, among others.

To cater to its ever growing customer-base, the store has just launched a branch in Neelankarai, ECR. Other than the usual products, the store — spread across 6,000 square feet— also features a pharmacy, laundry, and a meat shop. “We want to offer people everything they could possibly want from a store,” says Senthil. This is why here, you will find not just the latest flavour of Oreo biscuits, but also packs of ₹15 tea kadai biscuits.

At Amma Naana

At Amma Naana | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Senthil says that his team is keen to satisfy their clients’ requests and this is how they also learn of new products. “Recently, someone asked if I could source Cheetos bacon flavour from Australia. Then there are breakfast cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch that people wanted and it is popular now among other clients too,” he says.

Fifty percent of Amma Naana’s clientele is expats. “We have always stocked products from the UK and the US. Over the last 10 years, we’ve added more of Japanese and Korean items. This includes different brands of sea weed, kimchi, ginger, and miso paste,” he says, adding that their range of noodles has tripled over the last four years and now they have over 100 varieties on offer.

Senthil has seen trends come and go. “Twenty years ago, tonic water held a wow factor, but now people want root beer. Back then people were excited about the Starbucks coffee powder we sold but now they want almond coffee and almond milk. Likewise the Nutella craze has now paved way for cashew and almond butter,” says Senthil. But whatever the requirement, he says Amma Naana will always have it.

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