"We set up a distribution centre in Chicago last month and will be opening a retail outlet late next month or in the first week of November," Faiz Mohiuddin, the fourth-generation clothier from the old city of Hyderabad, said.

The investment in Chicago will be Rs 5 crore (about USD 822,000). This will however be a beginning as it plans to open two more distribution centres in Texas and New York next year.

"We also have a long-term plan to establish a cottage industry to manufacture our products locally after training the designers there," said Faiz, who is one of the directors of the family-owned business.

He sees a great demand for ethnic wear and wedding collection in  US. They plan to target both the Indian Americans and fashion-conscious locals.

"We see a good potential in US because of the exchange rate and also several concessions offered by US government like subsidy on land and duties and tax benefits," said Faiz, who last year attended the first Select USA summit hosted by President Barack Obama to attract investments to US.

Select USA is a body in US department of commerce established by Obama in 2011 to promote and facilitate investments into US.

Vinai Thummalapally, who heads Select USA and is currently visiting India, cites the example of Maqdoom Brothers and Coimbatore-based Shri Govindaraja Textiles, a yarn clothe manufacturer which plans to invest USD 40 million in US.

"These are interesting projects. When you think of international business you think of larger multinationals but there are small family owned businesses like these who are also investing in the US," Thummalapally, a former college roommate of Obama and the first Indian-American to become a US ambassador said.

Maqdoom Brothers expect USD 1 million turnover from the first year of their US operations.

With three stores in Hyderabad and three manufacturing facilities, including one each in Delhi and Mumbai, its current annual turnover is USD 1.2 million.

After setting up its business in the US, it plans to expand to Canada and subsequently set up a shop in Britain.

Started in 1895, Maqdoom Brothers were official caterers for Nizams, the rulers of erstwhile Hyderabad State.

"We were the trendsetters," he said proudly pointing out that they presented a Jodhpuri to former prime minister Manmohan Singh and sherwanis to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf and former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

The sherwanis for Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik for his marriage with Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza also came from Maqdoom. It's no wonder that many celebrities who come to Hyderabad make it a point to visit the Maqdoom stores.

Some members of Lahore Lions, the team from Pakistan playing in Champions League Twenty20, dropped in at Maqdoom this week.

 

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