An emerging, young and dynamic young man, Shailesh Shinde is the proprietor of Shri Guru Datta Pet Pooja. Hailing from Karjat in Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra, he has passionately chased his dream of running a successful business through hard work and sincerity. Today, he ably runs Puneri Wada Pav and Puneri Misal House at Sillod and is aiming to make it a brand well known across Maharashtra and the neighbouring states.
The business runs in the family since generations. Shailesh shares, “My grandfather had started a restaurant in Karjat in which my father was passionately involved. This restaurant called Dosti was really famous for serving delicious Misal. People from surrounding areas would visit just to have that Misal. Since that time, I have seen my family involved in the food industry and I desperately wanted to be a part of it.”
Shailesh’s life took a turn when his father had to leave Karjat and move to Pune following family feuds. His father completely left the hotel industry and took up a private job. Shailesh was pursuing his education at the point. His life took another turn when he was forced to leave Pune and stay with his aunt at Yawat for a bit due to family issues. This village had a small folk centre. Through a mutual contact of his cousin, he took up the job to cater a canteen at this centre in June 2007. He was only 19 then. He got the canteen up and running and in a condition far better than the previous caterer. Knowing that his father missed the hotel industry, he made his father quit his job and handed the contract over to him. His father still runs this canteen today.
Shailesh had gained enough confidence through this experience so he went on to take the State Transport canteen tender and was able to achieve a staggering Rs 75000 business a day after he took over. His future plans included going back to Pune and getting more such canteen catering contracts but they didn’t materialize due to family problems. In no way a quitter, Shailesh decided to move away from issues that were holding him back. In August 2015, he moved to Sillod with his wife Shraddha. He shares, “I wanted to move to a place where nobody knew me. I wanted to start afresh.”
When he moved to Sillod, he was sure about starting up a hotel but not confident about how to start. He surveyed all the hotels in Sillod area and found out that none of these hotels sold Wada Pav. That’s when he decided he was going to sell the best Wada Pavs in the region. He then began to hunt down a good hand cart for which he commuted every morning to Aurangabad. Raising capital was hard but he managed with the help of his wife. “I had to take a gold loan on my wife’s ornaments. It was the only choice we had,” he recollects.
After a lot of efforts, he finally found a hand cart and started his business on 5/09/2015, on the auspicious day of Gokulasthami. His first day sale was a modest 71. His made the wadas while his wife made the masala at home. Today, he sells over 1600-1800 Wada Pavs per day! “I want to be able to sell 5000 Wada Pavs per day. That’s my next target,” he says confidently. To be able to achieve this target efficiently, he plans of increasing manpower and improving infrastructure. Hisshort term goals include creating a brand that people trust and love and offering the kind of products and service that will leave every customer satisfied.
He proudly shares that his core team is made of people who joined him early on. Shailesh and his wife still take up any task that comes their way even when their business is growing so fast. They do not shy away from any work that they have to put in.
Shailesh states that he was able to see such a monumental growth in a small amount of time because he re-invested his profits into the business to make it stronger and bigger. At such a young age, he has a clear vision to expand his business in small talukas instead of big cities. According to him, people in and around talukas are not familiar with Wada Pav and Misal Pav. He wants them to know what a good Wada Pav and Misal Pav tastes like. His mission is to start a chain of hotels across rural areas of Maharashtra. He wants to have highway exclusive outlets so he can cater to customers from all parts of Maharashtra.
With a lot of experience and the spirit to try new things in business, Shailesh is a kind of businessman who wants to make his identity known. His efforts are quickly showing results which he hopes to keep with hard work and diligence.