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Shreeji Newsagents, London. Differing identity, same ethos

«Shreeji Newsagents is part of the social-fiber of the community. The pandemic has shown how stores in the locale act as a sanctuary and how they were supported by their patrons»

Shreeji Newsagents in London

Having come into the proprietorship from its previous owners, Shreeji Newsagents fell into the lap of Sandeep Garg and his brother. Having taken charge of the reins over time, Sandeep now manages the newsagent store, piping into it a vision that would present itself in its finished work as of 2020. At age eighteen, Garg took over the business after having spent time working in the establishment. He shares, «the locale influenced Shreeji Newsagents. We took over soon after being a part of it. We then updated the titles on the shelves of the store and gave it a meaning of our own».

Garg explains that his brother, involved with accounting then, saw owning the newsagent as a means to make a living for a period of time. Their proposition to take over Shreeji in 1982 was short term. It has instead extended into today. Garg remains the leading figure of Shreeji thirty-nine years later. The catalogue of reading materials sold underwent some alterations. The vision was to carry recondite titles that are either unknown in any manner or are produced in small batches.

In doing this, Shreeji Newsagents has ejected itself from the surrounding stores. It stood apart by offering what its customers wanted and would want to read. Titles that Shreeji carried were, in fact, a commingle by known publishers – Condé Nast, National Magazine and Hearst. Garg and his team procured a list of works published by means of self-finance. The aim was to further purview the titles due to the size and space of the store. Garg explains, «we partnered with advertising agencies and media companies after taking over the business. We offered them a subscription service, done in house by my team and I. The model stood apart from renown newsagents back then as it came from a non-commercial newsagent». 

Chiltern Street in Marylebone, Shreeji’s location 

They kept the name Shreeji from the previous owners. The name of the store, in fact, shares a number of meanings. It draws its roots from religious namesakes and the title, esquire. It was developed from the Hindi and Gujarati language. When speaking on the location at Chiltern Street in Marylebone, Garg describes the locale that differs from the rest. He explains that while there are brands known for their reputation – like Sunspel, a clothing brand and the Chiltern Fire House, a prominent hotel occupying the former fire station – there are also business models that do not exist out of the area.

The area has held, over time, clothiers, funeral directors, candle makers and shoemakers to name a few. «There are businesses that we have seen come and go over time. Those that have stayed on mostly exclusive to the Chiltern Street area. You would not find such a business outside of the area». In his time at Shreeji Newsagents, Garg states that four businesses remain embedded since taking over the activity. Having been here prior to the hotel’s placement in the area, Garg’s footing has been significant. He also states that he still cultivates his relationships with the businesses and individuals in the area who remain or who no longer are a part of the community. «Shreeji is part of the social-fiber of the community. The pandemic has shown, in abundance, how stores in the locale act as a sanctuary and how they were supported by their patrons».

Shreeji news, exterior view

Lampoon review: Shreeji’s furnished interior

In its heydays, the outlook of the store was similar to what newsagents across the United Kingdom looked like. Shreeji used the space along the store in its entirety. It stored, in fact, titles and displayed items on sale. Garg’s vision mixed alongside with designer Gabriel Chipperfield’s had then birthed Shreeji’s furnished interior.

The aim was to distance themselves from what a newsagent’s interior was like. He describes a typical newsagent as carrying standard newspapers and magazines, having a fridge of drinks and carrying everyday items for its crowd of guests. Having realized that these points of sales would not bring in profits due to competition by supermarkets in the area, they minimized this.

The glass window of Shreeji was once stocked with magazines and reading materials, a makeshift display unit to draw in people passing by. Having weaved their visions together, they re-created a space within Shreeji that was available to the regular customer, showcasing elegance in its designs without it having to overwhelm their buyers. «We enforced in form and function with the internal identity of the store while maintaining beauty as their key outcome». This was in extension of the section dedicated to brands asserting their items through pop-ups, a coffee bar and a selection of pastries presented for purchase to customers who stop by to purchase reading materials. Garg explains that coffee and reading materials have a shared identity. They are synonymous with each other.

Chipperfield’s play on the space

Chipperfield’s play on the space brought to life Garg’s intention to have a continuity in the spaces of the store. It envisioned an ease as one shifts between the areas of the store. The lower ground level is an event space, mimicking the spatial aspects as the floor above. «There are three rooms in the basement. Each section serves a separate purpose».

When prompted to describe the store, Garg emotes it as if walking into a library. Having removed the shelving unit on the glass window, customers and passersby are able to peer into the store. Just as if they were looking into a home from the outside. «One cannot hide anything in the store. You can look in and be able to see the internal aspects of the store». 

Magazines and newspapers at Shreeji Newsagents

Shreeji’s ethos to learning the essence of the magazines and newspapers that are sold have been a practice kept close by Garg as well as his team of staff members. Studying them, in fact, gave the opportunity to interact and integrate themselves into the lives of the customers. «We receive recommendations from customers, and we strive to add it into our library».

Shreeji’s efforts to work with up-and-coming individuals as well as creators who are in need to push forth their work amongst customers have become second nature. While not involved in publishing, Shreeji assists individuals to seek distributors or possible publications that would be keen in financing their work. «It is our belief that we keep this trade alive, encouraging competition and seeing works emerge».

Their incorporation of coffee and pastries are brought in from a coffee roaster & baker in the local area. Shreeji has had events in the past with Virgil Abloh, for System Magazine, as well as his collaboration with Nike and Taschen, promotional campaigns with Moncler Genius x JW Anderson and Valentino.

For the moment, the newsagent remains open for customers to swing by for a purchase of reading materials and a cup of coffee. Newspapers, magazines and books are also available for purchase on their online store. Shreeji has even partnered with Airmail, an online publication, founded by Graydon Carter, who feature on the awning and fascia of the refurbished store.  

Shreeji Newsagents 

6 Chiltern St, London W1U 7PT, United Kingdom
Shreeji, a newsagent and tobacconist located on Chiltern Street in London’s affluent Marylebone neighbourhood

Pravin Nair

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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