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‘Local people don’t like change’ - Bollywood club owner reveals Prince of Wales Road struggle

Owner, Mo Ali, standing outside the bollywood nightclub Karishma

Owner, Mo Ali, standing outside the bollywood nightclub Karishma

Archant

The owner of a new Bollywood themed club in Norwich has faced a ‘big fight’ convincing people to visit the club since opening in May.

Mo Ali opened Karishma in 15 Prince of Wales Road, the former home of Illusions Bar and Club, and regrets not waiting until September for students.

Whilst business is picking up now during Freshers’ Week, Mr Ali admits he opened at the wrong time and it was a mistake thinking he could capture the local market.

Mr Ali said: “From May it was quite disastrous and there was lots of issues with the Bollywood theme as people thought that was all we do but we play commercial songs all night with R’n’B and Hip Hop and just wanted to play a few tracks, create an ambience and host a few themed nights.

“Lots of people had the misconception it was just for Indians or Asians so just walked past and it’s been a big fight trying to convince people otherwise but students are the complete opposite and love the whole concept.

“I knew I would have an issue as local people don’t like change and everyone is set in what they like and no one likes changing routine but now the students are back it’s been going really well.

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“I wanted to do something different that was not available in Norwich and I wouldn’t say I’ve made a mistake but I struggled and lost a lot of money and should have waited for students.”

Mr Ali, who opened the club with a friend, has a background in the restaurant trade and also owns Gali Bangladeshi restaurant in Upper St Giles and Quality takeaway in Heartsease.

Bottles inside bollywood nightclub KarishmaBottles inside bollywood nightclub Karishma

He also says that owning a business in Prince of Wales Road is a ‘struggle’ as it’s reliant on strong Saturday night trade and having themed nights.

Mr Ali added: “The nightlife scene is not good at the moment in terms of trade.

“I probably speak for most of the businesses on this road now I’ve got to know the owners and it’s that one Saturday doing exceptionally good trade and the rest of the week is a struggle unless you’ve got a specific themed night you’ve built up over time on the weekdays.

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“For example you’ve got Thursday at Mantra, they do spectacularly well, and have built up trade with students over the years.”

Over the coming months, Mr Ali wants to launch his own club nights on a Wednesday with nostalgia music and once he’s ‘built business a bit more’ wants to host famous Asian DJs and dancers in the club.

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