The Corner Shop — the tale of Shreeji News
by Priya Raj
Once a traditional newsagent — now a community hub. Shreeji News is a quintessentially Marylebone jaunt that made London feel like a familiar friend when I moved all of seven years ago. Growing up, I worked in my dad’s corner shop, maybe that’s why I’ve always had an affinity for them. Every time I enter a corner shop I always make a conscious effort to have a small conversation with the shopkeeper — even if it’s just a simple “has it been busy today?” — I remember those small moments of humanity made a huge difference when I was on 6am starts on the weekends and school holidays. Shreeji News felt no different, though it’s not your usual “corner shop” by definition.
Owner Sandeep Garg has been the proprietor of Shreeji News since 1982, after taking it over from his childhood neighbours. “I would help them during the school holidays. I soon realised that I loved being there, being around the magazines and chatting to the clientele”, explained Garg in an interview with MBS.
“You can text and call your friends — but you still want to see them in real life every once in a while! You cannot hold a magazine digitally and the sense of closeness you get to something physical can’t be replaced.”
The process of gentrification had been a source of reinvention for many a newsagent, with ubiquitous supermarket brands covering long term corner shop staples like sweets and tobacco. The same goes for Garg who over the years has instead carefully curated a mix of niche magazines that can tickle the fancy of any seasoned or budding reader. Or maybe you just like to look at the pictures — there’s no judgement here.
It has its own identity among the “places to be” in Marylebone. Chiltern Street, home to Chiltern Firehouse & Monocle Cafe, wasn’t always the glamorous hotspot it is now, through the years it has been modernised and carefully refined for the cosmopolitan visitor. In 2020, Shreeji had a complete refit (rather than rebrand) — adding an event space, seating area and coffee bar. A far cry from what I imagine it looked like back in the 80s. The corner shops of British streets fade into the background, and the people behind them — invisible. But that’s not what happened here. Something I’ve always thought to be special about Shreeji — they care about and listen to the recommendations of their patrons, and if it’s good — by the next time you visit it may well be on the shelf! Their ability and desire to collaborate is best narrated by their part in promotional campaigns for the likes of Valentino, Moncler & most recently, Semaine.
I find that people who say London is too busy, or people are not friendly; are not familiar with Marylebone. It’s a safe haven in our frantic city life. Loaded with independent businesses; from places like Shreeji — to the Sandfords Flower Stall, run by Lisa, outside Waitrose on the high street (if you know, you know). Anyone with a similar business to Shreeji News will echo the notion that this isn’t just a means to making money, you become a familiar face, an observer of growth and in most cases, a friend. Seeing people through all phases of their life. It forces me to contemplate, perhaps home is a place after all, or is it the people who make it feel like home? I suppose at its centre, Shreeji is very simple. Like a true friend, they may change the way they look — but at their core, they remain the same person — and isn’t that a beautiful thought?
See more of Priya’s favourite spots in Marylebone on Bimble, in her placelist ‘Marylebone: just round the corner’
Discover Marylebone: just round the corner By pr1ya On Bimble
View pr1ya's placelist Marylebone: just round the corner for new places to explore. Save to your own placelists for…
If you have a story you’d like to share about a great little place or other bimbling experiences, get in touch with us at email@example.com.