Small-town Entrepreneur with Big Dreams ‘Racks’ up Supermarket Businesses in TN


By Chokkapan S (chock@imaws.org)

Tiruchirappalli: He is a well-known entity in the supermarket circles of Tamil Nadu. For, the gentleman has been serving them over the past one-and-a-half decades at various capacities. Initially, as an up-and-coming marketing and sales executive of the firms that employed him. Then, as the sure-footed founder of a one-of-its-kind commercial furniture set-up in central Tamil Nadu.

Meet Saravanan K – who has grown to be a familiar name among the supermarket and departmental store circles of the southern state over the years – from Tiruchirappalli (aka Trichy). “Being an economics graduate from a government college in Namakkal, I started my career in a different sector altogether. My first stint was with a two-wheeler crash guard and saree guard manufacturer in Trichy,” opens up Mr Saravanan, who is originally from a non-descript panchayat town, Senthamangalam, in Namakkal district.

Saravanan, MD, Sspace Rack
Saravanan, MD, Sspace Rack

His brush with destiny didn’t take long time, though. After a few years, “I switched to a supermarket rack manufacturer based out of the same city. My ability and hard work as an efficient sales & marketing professional was noticed over the next six years – more so by the competitors than by my own bosses,” quips Mr Saravanan. He would, then, be employed by a Chennai-based company in the same segment.

“I worked with the company till 2014. It was when the entrepreneurial bug bit me. I was the only employee of my company, Sspace Rack when I launched it. Now, we have a headcount of 28, which includes our manufacturing, production, marketing & sales, and desk staff members,” beams Mr Saravanan, Founder and Managing Director of the company. He adds that they customize MS powder-coated racks as well as stainless steel ones based on every customer’s unique requirements, from their own powder-coating plant in the SIDCO Industrial Estate of Ariyamangalam, near Trichy.

Sspace Rack has been carving its own niche in the business of making custom-built supermarket racks, departmental store racks, fruit and vegetable racks, impulse racks, pharmacy racks, book racks, textile racks, shoe racks, pick-up basket with wheels, supermarket trolleys and accessories. “We have done over 4,000 projects in Tamil Nadu since our inception in 2014. I have managed over 9,000 projects over the last two decades,” claims Mr Saravanan.

Sspace Rack, according to him, has customised and supplied store and display racks to around 36 supermarkets, apiece, in zones as diverse as Chennai and Tirunelveli. “We have also done over 25 projects in the industrial town of Hosur,” informs Mr Saravanan.

Early last year, however, was a blip on the company’s erstwhile growth trajectory. “We witnessed a lull in our business for a short period since late-2019 into the early 2020. Surprisingly, the Corona lockdown boosted our business, with more orders coming in from various parts of the state,” says Mr Saravanan.

The manufacturer has recently implemented a comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution – by AXN Infotech – to efficiently manage its supply chain and day-to-day operations. Going forward, the founder has plans to turn the organization into a private limited company. “We would also like to open our own outlets across Tamil Nadu in the near future, starting with Hosur and Nagercoil this year. Many supermarket players from the interior and southern pockets of the state find it difficult to go to either Chennai or Bangalore to procure the materials for store racks,” he reasons.  

Mr Saravanan is also eyeing certain markets across borders, including the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, besides Bihar. “Sspace Rack has already served customers in Yadgir and Hubli (in Karnataka). So, we are looking forward to supplying our products to more commercial establishments in other states. In addition to this, we will soon start manufacturing heavyduty racks for warehouses, godowns and storage units,” he signs off.


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