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HomeNewsFrom Hinterlands to Global Horizons: The Inspiring Journey of Hearty Mart

From Hinterlands to Global Horizons: The Inspiring Journey of Hearty Mart

The company launched their franchising model in 2007, which has been instrumental in Hearty Mart's expansion. The model not only helped in expanding the brand but also fostered local entrepreneurship.

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14 retail stores, empowering entrepreneurs and a journey from the hinterlands to going global, Hearty Mart, a Gujarat-based company stands as a testament to the power of entrepreneurial vision and community empowerment. The company what began as a modest venture has now blossomed into a retail empire poised to surpass a staggering turnover of 60 crore. Led by the indefatigable Nadeem Jafri, Hearty Mart has not only transformed the retail landscape but has also become a beacon of hope and prosperity for the local community.

Leap from ad exec to entrepreneur

Nadeem Jafri began his career in the advertising world, working for prominent firms like Dainik Bhaskar and Grey Worldwide. Despite his success, he felt unfulfilled and yearned to create something of his own. This itch led him back to his roots in Juhapura, where he identified a unique market opportunity amidst a predominantly Muslim population with little access to organized retail. He considered other ventures but believed that a supermarket would provide the best returns for investors.

“After finishing my MBA in 1998, I worked with Dainik Bhaskar and then moved to Grey Worldwide,” Jafri recalls. “While working in Mumbai, I was inspired by the Big bazaar store in the same building as my office. It was unlike any hypermarket I had seen before, and it planted the seed for my future venture. And retail was always there in my subconscious mind,” Jafri reflects, “and when I joined advertising, I knew I wanted to do something more impactful.”

In February 2004, amidst the Godhra aftermath in Juhapura, Jafri opened the first Hearty Mart store at Vishala Circle. His vision was clear: to deliver superior products and services to a demographic largely overlooked by prominent retailers, addressing the community’s needs.

“My initial hire hailed from the local community,” Jafri recalls. “He began as a farmer in a nearby village and has since advanced to the position of Retail Inventory Head in our organisation.”

Despite initial struggles, including financial losses and a tough market environment, Jafri’s determination never wavered. “Until 2008, we were not on the positive side of our balance sheet. It was a struggling time, but it taught me invaluable lessons,” he reflects.

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Franchising and Expansion

From its humble beginnings, Hearty Mart has grown significantly. Today, it operates 14 stores in semi-urban and rural Gujarat, following a unique franchising model that empowers local entrepreneurs rather than centralizing operations. “I have tried nurturing Kirana entrepreneurs to supermarkets, empowering them or upgrading them,” Jafri explains. “We built a back-end retail ecosystem, offered brands, products, and guidance, and charged a royalty for our services,” he adds.

The company launched their franchising model in 2007, which has been instrumental in Hearty Mart’s expansion. The model not only helped in expanding the brand but also fostered local entrepreneurship.

Diversification into Horeca and Manufacturing

Hearty Mart didn’t stop at retail. Partnering up with Wazir Ali and Hussain Abbas, the company ventured into the Horeca (Hotel/Restaurant/Café) sector, supplying more than 1,500 establishments across Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. “Horeca was a natural extension. We realized we could leverage our supply chain to cater to this segment,” says Jafri.

To maintain competitive pricing and quality, Jafri launched the ‘Chef Ki Pasand’ brand of spices, developed through a panel of chefs who tested various recipes. This brand quickly gained popularity, becoming a significant revenue driver with an annual turnover of 15 crore.

“We created a panel of chefs who passed several recipes cooked in those spices,” says Jafri. This initiative led to the successful launch of the brand, which now plays a significant role in their portfolio.

Hearty Mart has also created nine micro-enterprises, each operating independently but under the larger umbrella of Hearty Mart Enterprises. These ventures range from packaging to manufacturing, further solidifying their presence in the market. “We created micro enterprises where we take a holding of 15-20% and give them a captive market,” Jafri explains.

In 2023, Hearty Mart took a significant step by opening an overseas office in Dubai, aiming to increase their turnover from 45 crore to 60 crore. This move marks a new chapter in their journey, highlighting their growth from a local supermarket to an international brand.

Road ahead

Today, Hearty Mart encompasses 14 stores and has a turnover of 45 crore, with ambitions to reach 60 crore. The company continues to innovate, focusing on hybrid models of retail that combine physical stores with e-commerce. “Small format stores and Kirana shops are here to stay in India. They will become more organized and integrate e-commerce to suit local pockets,” predicts Jafri.

As Hearty Mart continues to grow, Jafri remains committed to his vision of empowering communities and creating sustainable business models. “Our transformation from a single store in Juhapura to a chain of supermarkets and a prominent player in the Horeca sector demonstrates the power of vision, resilience, and community trust,” he concludes.

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