Every business owner tries to put in a USP in his business to stand it out amongst the others. From attractive offers to in-house hospitality there are so many add-ons to choose from to enhance your business’s performance.
Keeping this in mind, Thoothukudi barber P Ponmariappan is giving his customers the best experience possible. The barber maintains a mini library inside his salon which consists of a collection of over 900 books in both Tamil and English. In his tiny barbershop, Ponmariappan has put up a bookshelf where you can find around 250 books, and the rest you can find pilled up in the corners.
Despite being unable to complete his schooling due to the poor financial conditions of his family, Ponmariappan always had a keen interest in books.
It took him 18 years to work hard as a loader and save up money to start his own business, Suresh Beauty Centre, in 2014. Though he was very excited to start his own business, he saw how his customers were always on their phones or busy watching Television while waiting for their turn. This made Ponmariappan curious.
The next day, he took off the television from his shop and ‘installed’ 5 books which were biographies of leaders like Periyar, Annadurai, Kalam, Abraham Lincoln, and Karl Marx. Gradually, people started picking up the books and going through them page by page. This encouraged Mariappan to bring in more and more books in his store which he arranged through various book fairs and scrap dealers.
In only a year, Ponmariappan was able to fill one wall with a number of books of different genres.
This little stunt has made the salon very popular especially amongst the youth locally. Whenever he gets a student as a client, he insists on them not to use their phones and reading one of the books instead. In fact, Mariappan even has a register maintained where he asks his customers to write down a brief about what they read and from which book.
Though the salon has been running for the past 6 years, someone had recently posted a picture of Ponmariappan’s book covered salon and it has gone viral since.
His idea of encouraging people to read books instead of scrolling through your phone has not just applauded by the online audience but has also been appreciated by Thoothukudi MP, Kanimozhi who has even contributed 50 books to his library. Not just the MP, to Ponmariappan’s surprise, his favorite author S Ramakrishnan has also talked highly about his initiative.
Following the lead, the publishing house Hatchette India has also contributed a bunch of English books that have are the first in his collection. Before this, his collection was only in Tamil.
However, the thoughtful man that he is, Ponmariappan has decided to lend these books to college students on a trial basis.