Kitipanit Store Chiang Mai
The Kitipanit store Chiang Mai on Thapae Road was probably the first department store in the town. The building was constructed in 1925. The arrival of the railroad in Chiang Mai in 1922 had a profound impact on the city. The Wat Ket and Kad Luang areas were the centers of commerce. The Ping River was the main means of transportation in those days. That changed completely when the first train from Bangkok arrived at the newly opened railway station. Imported goods and hithero unknown construction materials started to arrive in Chiang Mai.
Many new shops and businesses opened in the Sanpakoy area and on Thapae Road. The Kitibut family was the owner of Kitipanit Store. Chin Kiew Kitipanit was the manager. Kiti referred to the family. Panit or better Phanich (พาณิช)is the Thai word for merchant or trader.
The Directory for Siam and Bangkok of 1927 lists the store under “Motor, Cars, Accessories, Tyres, Oils, etc.” as well as under “General and Piece-Goods”. The Bangkok Times, the leading English-language newspaper in those days, issued this directory annually or bi-annually. According to other sources the store also sold household goods, kitchen utensils as well as imported clothes and cosmetics. The wealthy and privileged were doing their shopping at the Kitipanit Store. Kitipanit was the luxury store of Chiang Mai where you could buy anything.
Now only the ground floor of this beautiful building is in use by a couple of souvenir shops. The Kitipanit building should be on the list of Heritage Buildings of Chiang Mai.
The second picture shows children standing in front of the store waiting for the procession of King Rama VII to pass in January 1927.