From a small paan shop in Amreli to a food manufacturing company eyeing Rs 300 crore turnover

Founders of SCPL prove that a person is stronger than his challenge. Starting from a small paan counter, brothers Jagdish, Bhupat, Dinesh and Sanjay Bhuva, have built a publicly-listed food manufacturing company that aims to make Rs 300 crore turnover by the next fiscal year. Here’s how they did it.

From a small paan shop in Amreli to a food manufacturing company eyeing Rs 300 crore turnover

Wednesday December 15, 2021,

6 min Read

Stories about people moving to big cities to chase their dreams are aplenty but few have the grit to nurture their roots and find success in their home cities. Founders of Sheetal Cool Products (SCPL) are on a mission to put their city – Amreli— on the map. 

“Is shahar ne hume bahot diya hai (this city has given us a lot), now it is time to give it back,” says Yash Bhuva, Executive Head of SCPL based out of Amreli in Gujarat.

Beginning its journey from a paan shop in a street to building a publicly-listed food manufacturing company that aims to make Rs 300 crore turnover by the next fiscal year, SCPL has come a long way. The company is now eyeing to capture a pan-India market from Gujarat's Saurashtra region. 

SCPL makes ice cream, dairy products, and namkeens apart from other food items. The state of Gujarat has now given the company a go-ahead to set up 50 ice cream parlours in the region, the largest so far after Amul.

But how did SCPL turn their small shop into a profitable business? Yash says it is because his father and uncles did not create the company as owners but as a way to serve their society. 

Turning adversities into opportunities

SCPL was born when Jagdish Bhuva took a new step in his life, leaving the family’s agriculture occupation and starting a paan and cold drink counter shop by the name Sheetal Pan & Cold Drinks in a street in Amreli in 1987. His younger brothers, Bhupat, Dinesh and Sanjay soon joined him. 

The family had only just begun the business, and before the venture could establish itself, the local municipality demolished the shop in 1989. 

For the Bhuva brothers, this small shop was their only source of livelihood. After struggling for two years, they were able to arrange money and buy another small shop in front of Amreli bus stand in 1991. 

“When my uncles and father set up this shop, Janmashtami Mela was also taking place in the city. Many vendors used to put up the stalls there and get good sales. They thought of taking a chance and selling ice creams there,” Yash tells SMBStory

The brothers sourced homemade ice cream from a local vendor to sell at the fair. The response came beyond their expectation and this small step changed the course of life for them.

“After getting such a positive response from people, the founders decided on selling ice creams in their shop. One step led to the other and the business grew so well that in 1998, we had our own ice cream production set up as Shree Sheetal Industries,” Yash recalls. 

Unfortunately, Jagdish passed away in 1998 but his brothers continued to carry the legacy of their elder brother and in 2012, Shree Sheetal Industries turned into a limited entity. 

The next year, Jagdish, Bhupat and Dinesh took up the ambitious project of delivering pure quality milk to the people of the Saurashtra region. This marked their foray into the dairy segment. Thus, sourcing milk from the farmers of the interior villages of Amreli and Gir district, SCPL, in 2013, began delivering FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) standard milk in the nearby regions. 

By 2015 and 2016, the company further diversified its product portfolio by introducing frozen foods, namkeen, and sweets and even moved beyond the boundaries of Amreli through its products. 

“Every diversification was the hard work and humble approach of my uncles and father who believed in self-sustainability,” Yash says.

“When my uncles and father started the ice cream unit, the electricity condition was not good in the state that was the extreme challenge. The situation improved after Jyoti Gram Yojana was introduced by then CM Narendra Modi. We believed in a self-funding model,” he adds. 

The founders’ dedication, grit, and perseverance made SCPL a publicly-listed company in 2017. SCPL now has a strong distribution network of over 300 distributors across six different states and has more than 35,000 retail outlets. 

Sheetal Cool Products

An old picture of Bhuva Brothers after Jagdish Bhuva passed away

Giving back to the community

One of the important reasons for SCPL's growth, Yash believes, is the company’s core value of giving back to the community. 

“SCPL strengthened the farmers of interior villages of the districts by sourcing milk directly from them. We have a workforce of more than 1,500 people where more than 800 are women. We are empowering more than 60 families through Sheetal Cool Parlours to become Aatmanirbhar and plan to double this number by the end of next year,” Yash shares. 

Yash also tells SMBStory that since the beginning, SCPL has focussed on backward and forward integration.

It has an in-house manufacturing facility of 30,000 corrugated boxes per day and a fully-company owned logistics by more than 55 referred containers. The company boasts of in-house manufacturing capacity of one lakh biscuits cones and seven thousand litres of liquid chocolate per day. There are 1.5 and 1.25 MW- wind projects and 1.2 MW solar projects resulting in in-house energy production.

Challenges and the competition

SCPL is a regional brand that is paving its way to the metro cities. The foremost challenge the company faces is competing with the giants like Amul, Mother Dairy, Vadilal, Havmor, etc. 

Yash says that these companies are legacy brands and are doing well. “We are still positioning ourselves and that is happening at its own pace,” he adds. 

SCPL has established its presence in Maharashtra. Yash claims that 20 percent of total ice cream sales of the company is generated from the state with a distribution network of more than 50 distributors and is growing at 25 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate). It has also entered Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, and more. 

SCPL’s namkeen and sweets are also available on ecommerce marketplaces. 

Future plans

SCPL has rigorous expansion plans and is aiming to double the number of its ice cream parlours by 2022 which will also help in generating more employment in the states like Maharashtra and Gujarat where the company is targeting to expand. 

The company is also planning to foray into new categories, which Yash believes, are too early to talk about. 

SCPL is a legacy family business that invests in people.

“When we tell people that we are from Amreli, their other question is, where is it? We want everyone to recognise our city and that’s the kind of growth we are aiming for in our business,” he signs off. 

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti