IIM alumnus’ mantra for vegetable retailing—involve vendors, families
Supermarket on a cart
Quality assured, weight perfect. For complaints or bulk order, dial 9334412648.
These are not the claims of a retail giant, but a handful of street vendors selling vegetables in brightly-painted yellow and orange carts on Patna’s busy streets. People queue up to these refrigerated carts to buy what the vendors call Samridhi vegetables.
Anita Pradhan, a homemaker, said the price at Samridhi cart is slightly higher than in the wholesale market but it’s worth it. “I don’t have to bargain for or hand-pick fresh vegetables. I just name them and they are handed over in neat packets,” she added. The vendors also supply vegetables to a few hotels across Patna at competitive rates.
The idea is simple: there is a market for every grade of goods. “We provide the kind of vegetables our customers need,” said Kaushalendra, alumnus of iim -Ahmedabad. The 36-year-old is the brain behind the chain, Samridhi, that is fast gaining a foothold in the state with support from vendors and farmers.
Kaushalendra’s strategy differs from that of retail giants like Reliance Fresh. “Retail giants undermine vendors. Farmers also suffer losses because the companies buy the best quality vegetables and they have to sell the rest at a throwaway price,” he said.
Samridhi buys the entire produce from farmers at a fixed rate. The role of vendors remains the same: they maintain a regular supply of vegetables and sell them. To have an edge in the cut-throat market, Samridhi offers quality assurance for which it has roped in wives of farmers and vendors. After the produce is brought to collection centres, the women segregate vegetables according to quality and weigh and pack them. The best quality vegetables go to carts and the low-grade ones are supplied to hotels.
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