No longer a teenager

Rita Dhital


The credit of introducing centralised shopping facilities to Nepal goes to Mr Binod Ratna Tuladhar who, 20 years ago, floated the Bluebird Department Store today. This is the story of the birth of a dream dreamt by an extraordinary man. Upon his return from Austria following the completion of a Diploma in Hotel Management, everyone in the family had expected the young Binod Tuladhar, who also studied in Nepal, India and the UK, to join the business his father and elder brother were already into. But Tuladhar had something pathbreaking in mind. While abroad, he had shopped for his daily necessities in European style departmental stores and he wanted to introduce the same convenience and style in the life of the daily Nepali shopper. That vision became a reality in 1985 when he started Bluebird Department Store at Tripureshwor in area of 5,000 square feet.

Venturing into a new business requires a lot of courage since it is full of challenges and uncertainties, not to forget mentioning that it is the first of its kind in the country. Tuladhar was not sure how the customers would take it, as they were not used to shopping in self-service facilities. But once it took off, there was no looking back. “The foreigners, too, were happy to find a shop of this kind in Nepal,” recalls Tuladhar. In 1990, Tuladhar opened up its second branch at Lazimpat, five years after establishment of the first store. Bluebird covers an area of more than 55,000 square feet and has acted out the model role for other stores in Nepal. Competition has grown, meanwhile, resulting in cutting of prices and profit margins. But Bluebird has had unparalleled success with its two stores conveniently located at Tripureshwor and Lazimpat. Variety of merchandise and spacious parking being some of Bluebird’s specialities, it has become one of the must-go destinations for every householder in town.

Over the last five months, Tuladhar has leased out some areas to Punkie Universe where parents could leave their children, who occupy themselves with playing video games and watching television while they shop. On the completion of its 20th year, Bluebird Department Store is offering various schemes and cash discounts throughout June. According to Tuladhar, “Food products will be sold almost at cost price, buy one and get one free schemes are on in garments, and 5-15 per cent discounts are available on all other stuff.” They are also having food stalls and daily lottery for customers, tying up with Standard Chartered Bank, which will provide two gifts everyday on lottery basis to its credit card users and two CD players at the end of the month. “You can also enjoy the swim, tattoos, mehendi and hair colouring here,” Tuladhar adds.