Mart With a Rural Heart

Friday, April 3, 2009

Previously the people of Illol village travelled to the nearest town of Himmatnagar, Gujarat, to buy a sachet of shampoo. But now they are able to buy it from the shop in the village,” says Nadeem Jafri, who has set up Hearty Mart — a chain of supermarkets in rural areas. Rewriting the rules of top-down retailing models, Jafri has chosen to target the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, as advocated by well-known consultant C.K. Prahalad.

With a presence in little-known villages such as Pipodar, Kakoshi, Vadnagar and Idar, Hearty Mart provides a modern retail experience to rural folk aspiring for brands that television has introduced into their homes.

Jafri intends to tap this unacknowledged customer base that leads to volumes at the bottom of the pyramid.

‘Sabse khaas, ghar ke paas’ (the best, closer home) is the tagline of the Hearty Mart chain, which operates on a franchisee model with two brands under one roof — Hearty Mart and another chosen by the franchisee.

“In the event that we decide to pull out of the association, the shopkeeper should be able to operate on his own,” he says. The first franchise was issued at Illol for a deposit of Rs 25,000.

Sahyog, Easy Shop and Tiny Shop are the second brand names chosen by the franchisees in Illol, Kakoshi and Pipodar respectively.

The stores are generally 500-800 sq ft in size. A smaller format of stores, less than 300 sq ft, known as Hearty Mart Saral Shops has been devised, as villagers with limited space have also shown interest in tying up with the chain. Saral is modelled after the neighbourhood kirana stores found in cities.

Source: Hindu Business Line (link opens in a new window)