From ration shop to owner of an iconic grocery store in Mumbai

From ration shop to owner of an iconic grocery store in Mumbai

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

352 week ago — 6 min read

Dreamers are born everywhere - from cosmopolitan cities to the smallest towns. Nanji Shah was born in a small town in Gujarat, in the Kutch area. In pursuit of his dreams he found his way to Mumbai.

Initially he had a small ration shop. With a vision to grow, Nanji Shah established Neelam Foodland in 1980, which has evolved into a state-of-the-art grocery store today. With a large range of products on offer, he insists on quality and promises to never compromise on the trust he has built with his clients. Neelam Foodland set the trend in customer engagement and the leveraging of technology to improve in-store experience and marketing.

In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Nanji Shah (NS) shares the story of his company and his plans for the future.


GL: Tell us about your business.


NS: I was born in a small village in Kutch in Gujarat. Being ambitious, I came in search of a job to Mumbai. After a lot of hard work & dedication I decided to start something of my own and support my family. I was determined to face all challenges and begin my entrepreneurial journey.


To start with, we had a small ration shop. Given the limited space in the store we had only a limited selection of products. I realised I needed to have a business vision. I needed to take steps that would give me freedom to make my own decisions going forward and express my creative spirit in the store. Later, in 1980, ‘Neelam Foodland’ was established.


GL:  What factors did you focus on when establishing your business?


NS: Location is a very important factor when starting a business - especially a grocery store. You need to know where the nearest competition is, and what makes you stand apart from them.


We have consistently ensured that we stock exclusive fine-quality foods in the store. In recent years, we have taken several steps to improve its design, and ambience — creating an inviting atmosphere where customers can enjoy their shopping experience.


Recognising that most of the purchase decisions happens in the store itself, one of the key focus areas was to provide an enriching & enticing shopping experience to the customers. This facilitates an enhanced customer connect & also provides valuable consumer insights that helps in improving our product offerings & services. We were probably among the first in to set a trend in different segments for staying ahead by leveraging technology, diverse product range, unique marketing initiatives & customer engagement.


The promise & experience in our store can be translated as 'fulfilling, exclusive & elite'. In the near future, we would like to grow our store into an integrated brick and mortar & e-commerce portal, offering more services to the customer.


GL:  Do you believe that the ‘ease of doing business’ in India has improved?


NS: Yes, of course. The nature of demand has changed as well. Customers are accepting new products & want to taste different varieties.


GL:  What is the USP of your business?


NS: Our belief of providing ‘authentic taste & trust’ is the backbone of our store. It’s the core reason for high customer satisfaction.

The goods in the shop are personally checked. We ensure that freshness, standard and quality are maintained. Over the years we have continued to introduce new items to the store. In fact, customers look forward to what's coming up next!


We believe we have to keep it simple & understand customers’ unique preferences & habits. This has helped us to build a strong relationship with them.


Quality, taste & uniqueness of products is our hallmark. Our store has the widest range of product offerings. The quality of pulses, atta, frozen vegetables gourmet food at our store is unparalleled. Our prestigious repeat clientele is a testimony to our winning strategy .


GL:  What are some of the milestones of your business?


NS: Loyal customers over the years are our greatest achievement. We also received the India Food Forum Award in 2016 for the category of Progressive Grocer.


GL:  What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?


NS: GlobalLinker plays a major role acting as a catalyst in connecting and assisting SMEs across India.


GL: What is your big business dream?


NS: Our dream is to reach worldwide & serve our customers wherever they are present across the world.


GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?


NS: Work hard & stay focused in your work and cultivate patience as one of your virtues.


Network with Nanji Shah by clicking on the 'Invite' button on his profile  


Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.


From ration shop to owner of an iconic grocery store in Mumbai

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