That Katani Sweets, the favored candy store chain from Mohali, is a household run enterprise is abundantly clear when Harkirat Singh, one of many house owners, suggests we converse to his father. My father is at all times there within the evenings, why don’t you come over and have a phrase with him,” says Harkirat. With regards to success tales of home-grown entrepreneurs, Katani Sweets is a becoming instance. Began over three a long time in the past, the candy store is now a widely known model with 11 retailers throughout the tricity providing not simply conventional sweets however quick meals as nicely.
Meet the founder
On a busy, chilly winter night we arrive on the store in Section 3B2. Recognizing Harnek Singh, the founder and head of Katani Sweets isn’t troublesome. Everybody needs the 83-year-old with reverence as they cross him within the restaurant. Wearing an extended jacket and a floppy hat, he could appear to be a grandfather out for a night stroll however appears to be like may be misleading. Singh retains a watchful eye on all and ticks off a employee who hasn’t wiped down the desk nicely. “Evenings are busy and l like being round,” he tells us. When requested to share his story this far, Singh smiles again with a twinkle in his eye.
How did the title Katani come about, we’re curious to seek out out? “That’s the title of my pind (village). It’s on the way in which to Ludhiana from Chandigarh. Simply because the Badals and Kairons use their village title as a surname, I made a decision to do the identical,” explains Singh who was a farmer again within the ‘70s. “There wasn’t a lot to earn tilling the land so I made a decision to open a dairy. However I confronted loads of battle as my cattle would invariably fall sick,” reminisces Singh. Not one to lose hope, he started amassing milk from different farms to promote within the neighbouring villages. “This enterprise was higher however winter was significantly robust as demand went drastically down.”
So Singh determined to provide milk to Chandigarh. Arriving right here in 1980, Singh started to provide milk all over the place. “But, there was surplus. I made a decision to open a candy store and created the model Katani Sweets in 1984. From day one, I used to be positive I needed to contain my household,” says Singh.
Whereas the primary store opened in Sector 15, Chandigarh, Singh says it was a rocky begin. “I needed to vacate as there have been some rental points.” Regardless that Mohali was thought-about a foul transfer, he determined to arrange one store there.
Considering out of the field
The shift to Mohali was not straightforward. “The market was abandoned. There was hardly anybody else right here,” says Singh who determined to fall again on his life precept as soon as once more – by no means surrender. “The number of sweets was the standard however I made a decision to decrease costs. I supplied barfi at Rs 12/kg,” he shares. And he launched the Katani samosa. “It was plumper, had extra fillings and I gave it with two chutneys for 50 paise a plate,” mentioned Singh. Quickly individuals began flocking to Mohali from Chandigarh to savour the samosas. I saved the costs low until I gained reputation,” says Singh.
The menu too started to develop alongside along with his NRI followers.
He additionally began a Diwali mela, open to all. “I put up a flowery tent, stalls of various eateries and organised music. It was a grand success,” says Singh who credit himself for beginning the pattern of candy outlets making celebrations a giant affair.
As we speak, Katani Sweets is current in Chandigarh, Mohali, Zirakpur, Kharar and Panchkula.
The success mantra
“It’s all about onerous work and giving buyer worth for his or her cash,” says Singh who rues that income usually are not at all times excessive. Singh feels one ought to by no means surrender when the going will get robust. “It’s my life lesson for all. Nothing got here straightforward to me. I labored onerous and at all times bounced again from low phases,” he asserts.
Whereas his brother, nephews and his personal sons are concerned within the enterprise, Harnek is certain that growth just isn’t on the playing cards. “We’ve got consolidated our place and need to maintain at it,” he tells us. Singh visits Katani village when he can. “It provides me satisfaction that I used to be capable of create livelihood for not simply my household however so many others too,” sums up Singh who nonetheless will get up at 4 and barely misses a day at work.