Many people who have been to Bangkok will say that the city is filled with hotels, office spaces and shopping centers everywhere. Often times, hotels are situated near shopping centers for convenience such as hotel near Central World which attracts a lot of guests. Before these new shopping malls came to life, there was the Nightingale Olympic department store. This shop is located at the edge of the Chinatown district and now barely seen because of the tangled electric wires that are hanging above the city.
Street hawkers have come to dominate the area and eventually overshadowed the department store that stood the test of time for the past 90 years. Nightingale Olympic is now forgotten and its establishment now a symbol of how it was in the years passed including the woman who brought it to life.
AroonNiyomvanich began working at Nightingale Olympic at 10 years of age back when it was still the biggest department store in Bangkok. She is now 96 years old. She shared how she was born and grew up working into the store.
Visiting Nightingale Olympic nowadays will make one feel that the building has turned into a museum rather than a department store. Looking at everything inside from the products sold to the furniture, everything speaks of how it has been maintained and still remains in an era that is no longer considered modern these days.
Niyomvanich, up to these days, is living her days within the desk inside the corner of Nightingale Olympic. According to her, everything inside the store holds a special meaning. The store was established in 1930 in a space across the road and it was started by his older brother called Nat. Nat considered the project his passion after their parents died. This is after their mother requested him to make sure everyone of them stays together thus all of his siblings worked inside the store and even their children years later.
She said that despite the number of developments in Bangkok including a hotel near Central World, they have never received offers to buy the establishment because no one is brave enough to ask them to sell the business that holds so much meaning for them.