Dream big, work hard, realise dream: an incredible rags to riches story

Food for thought: From saving pennies to making millions just by selling fruit

India’s first branded fresh fruit and vegetable chain was born in 1965. The founder was a twenty-two year old, named Natarajan, who had dropped out of school when he was ten as his father had died and he had to work to make a living. He joined as a cleaner at a fruit-seller’s.

Natarajan and his brothers began saving 25 paise a day [100 paise=1 Indian rupee] in 1953. In 1965, they opened a fruit shop in 400-square feet of space using the money they had saved for more than a decade. They named it Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam [Kovai Fruit Stall]. Today Natarajan and his brothers have 34 sprawling outlets, and they are planning to add another 50 stores to their chain in the next three years. They have expanded into vegetable marketing  and are launching a chain of juice bars as well.  And, to cap it all, Natarajan has ensured that his son got an excellent education.

Employed as a software product developer at Microsoft till six years ago, Natarajan’s son, Senthil, is now enlarging the family business, scaling up his father’s dream: making forays onto the national stage, giving India the taste of fruits from countries across the globe, using technology to manage the supply chain, and making organic manure out of fruit and vegetable waste. What an incredible journey! [Source: Business Standard, Bangalore, April 11, 2012].

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