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He made Ranganathan Street so crowded...
On 3 September 2015, one of the founding partners of Saravana Stores, Yogarathinam, passed away. With his brothers Selvarathinam and Rajarathinam, he made rich contribution to T. Nagar’s evolution as a famous retail hub.

Saravana Stores, with four decades of leadership in retail business, is among the largest family-owned enterprises in Tamil Nadu.

Founded by Selvarathinam in 1970 and later partnered by his two brothers Yogarathinam and Rajarathinam, it started as a vessels store that later ventured into other verticals. The Rathinams hail from the Panicka Nadar Kudiarrappu village in Tuticorin District. Traditionally, their family was into agriculture and rice mill business.  

In 1977, the brothers started the Saravana Stores. The then peaceful residential Ranganathan Street became a busy shopping destination. The unique selling point of Saravana Stores is offering things at low prices -  the Walmart way. This attracted customers not only in Chennai, but also all over Tamil Nadu to throng Saravana Stores.

Today the business is diversified into retail segments like vessels, textiles, jewellery, ice cream... The Saravana Stores Thanga Nagai Maaligai (jewellery outlet) is also flocked by thousands day after day as the making charges and stone charges are cheaper compared to other jewellery stores. In 2004, Saravana Stores Enterprises unveiled its ice cream brand Jamaai. A 10,000-litre per day ice cream production unit has been setup that is geared to expand to 30,000 litres per day soon.

The stores receive over 20,000 customers per day and peaks during festive seasons.

After the demise of the founder Selvarathinam, Saravana Arul (Son of Selvarathinam) split from the group and started Saravana Selvarathinam Stores, which has also ventured into sales of textiles, utensils, accessories, vegetables and a lot more. Today it functions as a separate entity with two large stores in T Nagar alone. In the meantime, the Saravana Stores managed by Rajarathinam, has stores in Purasawalkam, Chrompet, Panagal Park and Ranganathan Street. It is expanding to other cities.

With a turnover in excess of Rs 2500 crore, Saravana Stores is one of the successful retail ventures in the country. The Stores employs over 9000 people, mostly picked from the nearby native villages of the founder.

Rajarathinam is currently the managing director of the diversified retail business. Sons of Yogarathinam- Shanmugadurai, Pondurai and Aruldurai- are working hard to expand the business by the day.

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