Empire Spices & Foods Ltd
Anand Rathi has set up and now oversees the operations of Ram Bandhu Supermarket (RBSM), the retail wing of Empire Spices & Foods Ltd (ESFL), the leading Nashik-based food processing organisation. The company manufactures a wide range of spices, pickles, papad, sauces and variety of flours under its private labels Ram Bandhu, Temptin’ and Spice One.
The company’s retail venture — RBSM — has been set up under the guidance of Chetan Sangoi, promoter of the popular Sarvoday Supermarket in Mumbai. Located in the heart of the city at Sharanpur Road, Nashik, the store provides an array of groceries, spices, dry fruits, staple foods, frozen food, dairy products, kitchen aides, personal & home care items, toys, stationery, health and wellness products. It features over 4,000 SKUs and over 200-plus brands in a spacious area of over 2,000 sq. ft.
Since its inaugural in February 2014, RBSM has achieved an average weekly footfall of over 2,000 customers and the numbers are escalating on a monthly basis.
“Our focus now is to make the store future-ready,” Rathi says. “This will be done with more intensive implementation of technology for more efficient store operations and superior engagement with shoppers.”
“Retail offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to directly interact with consumers and add joy and convenience to their shopping experience,” Rathi says, referring to his motivation for launching the business. “Being in retail helps to understand the consumer psyche, how and what they purchase and when. It also gives an insight into how companies portray their products and reach consumers’ baskets through the retail channel.”
With just over a year of running his maiden store, Rathi has discovered the challenges that the dynamic nature of a retail business presents. “It demands you to be on your toes 24/7. The major challenge is to maintain fresh products with wide range of products for all kinds of consumers,” he notes.
“Given the wide varieties and numerous product categories, it is always a challenge to maintain both fresh quality and wide variety. Also, the sourcing has to be right; our merchandise is a mix of both branded and non branded goods and suppliers work in completely different manners in the two segments,” he adds.
Rathi believes technology is the anchor of modern-day retail. “Indian retailers must make better use of technology so they can maintain stronger monitoring of consumer buying patterns. And an online presence is certainly the first step towards it,” he asserts.