Seeing a city grow

Dhansukhlal Kapadia (left) with his son Bhavick Kapadia. Picture: MATILDA SIMMONS

FOR 50 years, Dhansukhlal Kapadia has watched Suva grow into a cosmopolitan city from his small shop.

He loves to sit at the back of his office and look out observing the many people walking by outside the busy streets of Suva. It’s a pasttime he now enjoys since he retired and handed his business over to his son.

“Suva has really changed a lot,” he mused.

“Back in the 1950s and 1960s, this place was a whole lot different. Today, there’s a lot more cars, and people. It’s so busy.”

The 68-year-old’s shop is located at 160 Renwick Rd in Suva.

He has been operating his small shop for 30 years.

Before this, they were located at Vanua Arcade.

According to the businessman, his father came from India in the 1930s to start a retail shop before they expanded into wholesale cosmetic sales. It’s a business that has kept them going over the years.

“I came into the business in 1968.

“We were more into the duty-free trade, from textiles and garments then we gradually extended to other lines like watches and sunglasses, but over the past few years we’ve gone into electronics, toys, and facial products.

“We have another shop at Tebara Plaza in Nakasi (nine miles out of Suva) where we have accessories and so on.

“The business has been doing well and I can’t complain,” he said with a smile. Born and bred in Suva, Mr Kapadia strikes you as a bit of a “man of the world”, someone who has been there and done it.

He knows Suva like the back of his hand and is well connected among the old Suva business families.

“Oh yes, most of the business families that have been operating in Suva for over 40 years are well connected.

“We keep in touch with each other. But one thing I always strive to maintain is the relationship with our customers.

“It’s the main thing that have kept us going this far,” he said.