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Dry fruits, and a dozen stories

The dry-fruit providers to the Nizam of Hyderabad, Shivram Peshawari & Bros stay relevant in the market today by sheer virtue of their quality products

The iconic MozamJahi Market has many stories tucked away behind its stone facade. One such story is that of Shivram Peshawari & Bros started by Shivram Grover on the premises of the heritage structure in 1931. The enterprise is still going strong with the fifth generation stepping in to direct the family business.

The Grover family migrated from Peshawar (now in Pakistan) to Hyderabad and started one of the earliest fruit stores in the then bustling business place of MJ Market. They began to supply fruits to the households of the Nizam of Hyderabad and other aristocracy in the city. Vijay Grover, the fifth generation owner canters through the store’s history and shares, “Growing up, I heard how we were known for our quality. We used to procure fruits from across the country, which wasn’t an easy task back then. We also used to import figs, raisins and other dry fruit from Afghanistan; somehow that goodwill remains till date, as we are known for our quality.”

Though their reputation ensured that the business remained steady over the years, since 2000’s it hit a plateau due to multiple reasons – the increase in the number of sellers, the MJ market region losing its status as the the centre of business in the city and also the younger generation in the family moving away to other professional careers.

Like in many family businesses, Vijay grew up with visits to the stores. However he worked as an investment banker for almost ten years before joining the store in 2015, first on a part time basis and then quitting his job and joined the business full time in 2017.

“I think the spirit of entrepreneurship was always imbibed in me.” Vijay shares adding, “I wanted to do something on my own and what better place to start than my own business which has endured for so long.” The 35-year-old adds that he realised that there was a dearth of good products online and wanted to plug that gap. He explains, “While we were known for our quality, we couldn’t expect people to come to MJ Market from Hi-Tec city so we went to them by expanding our online presence.”

The store then undertook a series of measures which paid rich dividends – partnering with eight online platforms (including Paytm and Amazon), starting their own website and expanding the array of dry fruits they stocked to cater to the health conscious younger generation who embarked on keto and good fat diets and were looking for quality dry-fruits.

   

 

Today the store is a popular destination for a variety of dry fruits (almost 40 varieties with the popular ones being Brazil Nuts, Black raisins, Pista kernels and Medjoul dates), dried fruits, seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia and the works) and spices (Iranian and Kashmiri saffron among others). They also supply to Taj Falaknuma and the Ohris group and count Rohan Sippy and Vijay Shekhar (Founder of Paytm) as their clients.

Vijay, whose day begins at 8 am with the dispatch of around 100-120 online orders, jests that they have only one holiday a year – the Ganesh Visarjan day, that too due to traffic restrictions! Ask about the challenges of running a traditional business in a modern world and he replies, “Logistics is an issue and we need to move with the changing times. Also, people nowadays don’t mind paying a premium for quality. For example, who would think Indians would pay ₹ 3000 for a kg of macadamia nuts a decade ago? So, we ensure that we stock only the best.”

The plans for future are aplenty – boosting their online presence, open more stores in the city and continuing with their current outreach programmes like conducting exhibitions at gated communities in the city. As regular customers troop into the store and make their purchases, we ask Vijay if his journey so far seems surreal. He smiles and answers, “It’s destiny that after all these years I came back to the very place where I used to come as a child. I never imagined that it would happen, but then that’s life.”

This column features Gen-Next entrepreneurs who take their family business forward

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