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The Kohinoor of Ahmednagar

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The story of Kohinoor—a humble clothing store that grew into one of the first malls of Ahmednagar, a small town in Maharashtra

The name Kohinoor shines bright in Ahmednagar, a small town near Pune, famous for sugar mills and dairy products. The goodwill and reputation of the brand Kohinoor is a result of the efforts of four generations of the Gandhi family.

The genesis

The brand was founded in 1935 when a local entrepreneur Kanakmal Gandhi set up a 300 sq. ft. clothes retail shop. For over 25 years, Gandhi and his family put their sweat and toil behind the business. The venture took off in 1962 when Kanakmal Gandhi’s son, Vasantlal Gandhi, joined the business. It was in that year that the store expanded to 6,000 sq. ft. with the acquisition of the area adjacent to the store. While the brand had grown, it took another 20 years for the store to gain new heights with the addition of more floors to the existing structure. In 1982, Kohinoor become a large store of 14,000 sq. ft. with its own separate section of readymade garments.

In 1992, under the supervision of the father-son duo Vasantlal Gandhi and Pradeep Gandhi (the third generation), the store underwent a transformation and modernization, complete with a new look, central air-conditioning and even a computerized billing system. It was probably the first store in Maharashtra to boast these features.

The year 2003 marked the entry of the fourth generation of the Gandhi family into the business when Ashwin Gandhi, Kanakmal Gandhi’s great-grandson joined the business after completing his Master’s in Marketing from the University of Greenwich, London.

“In 2006, we bought the adjacent building and further renovated the store,” Ashwin Gandhi said during an exclusive interaction with India Retailing.

The store now boasted an area of 25,000 sq. ft. In 2007, Kohinoor underwent yet another facelift.

The store was now equipped with an anti-theft system, barcoded inventory, state-of-the-art interiors with Italian marble, wrought iron, elevators and a double-height entrance with huge chandelier.

“In 2011, we added a new men’s ethnic section spread over 2,000 sq. ft. taking the entire store size to 27,000 sq.ft.,” said Gandhi.

Dream project

As Ashwin Gandhi further initiated the work on their new store in Premdan Chowk in 2019 with the idea of building the biggest family multi-brand outlet in town, the idea of making a mall struck their minds.

“We started work on our new store in a newly-developed suburb of Ahmednagar in 2019. This is where the idea struck of making a mall and taking on board a jeweller and electronics store to go along with our clothing store,” said the fourth-generation entrepreneur.

In mid-2020, the family suffered a setback as they lost Pradeep Gandhi to Covid-19.

“I then took it upon myself to realise my father’s dream and went ahead with the mall project. Finally, the mall opened its door in December 2022 with an area of 1,90,000 sq. ft. spread over five floors,” Ashwin Gandhi added.

Targeted at the middle, higher middle and upper class, the Kohinoor Mall houses Kalyan Jewellers, Tata Croma, a salon/spa, a three-screen movie theatre, food court, kids play zone and a 50,000 sq. ft. of parking space. “The Kohinoor mall also has the biggest family clothing store in Maharashtra spread over 50,000 sq. ft. and experiences a footfall of 2000 on weekdays and 5000 on weekends,” he added. The mall itself experiences a footfall of 6,000 on weekdays and 12,000 on weekends.

The fourth and fifth floors of the mall have offices and a multi-cuisine restaurant. A multi-cuisine restaurant and a banquet are proposed on the terrace floor.

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