Kerala Woman Rebuilds Chips Business from Scratch after Losing All in Robbery, One Stall a Time
Elavarasi now owns 4 stalls in Thrissur. Her stores prepare as many as 60 products, including sweets, snacks, cakes, and pickles. (elavarasijayakanth/ Instagram)
For Tamil Nadu resident Elavarasi Jayakanth, life has never been a walk in the park but the struggles never were able to pull her down for long.
Elavarasi’s family has been living in Thrissur district in Kerala since the past 45 years ago and one thing that she held on to from her childhood was how her parents and grandparents made sweets and snacks to eke out a living. She had always been around them and learnt how to sell the products. So, when she married, she continued to do the same, make sweets and snacks at home and sell them to local stores and households. Her customers were always impressed by her products and the orders kept pouring in.
Elavarasi had always wished to become an entrepreneur and after a few years of the same, she discussed the idea with her husband and children and decided to combine savings and take a loan of Rs 50 lakh and was finally able to open a supermarket in Thrissur in 2010,she told The Better India.
The store saw good profits as Elavarasi kept selling snacks and sweets such as halwa, chips, and cakes that were made of fruits and vegetables including mangoes, oranges, gooseberries, chinese potatoes and her customer base grew with each passing day. She also was able to provide employment to at least 50 people. But the biggest test was yet to come. Her good fortune was cruelly halted when a robbery took place at the store and she lost everything in it.
The incident led her to mental agony and such bad trauma that she even had to be hospitalized and also suffered a few other ailments and it took her months to recover. But Elavarasi slowly gained her mental and physical strength back and decided to take charge once more to rebuild whatever she had lost.
She decided to fight back, for herself, for her family. But it wasn't an easy path. Banks and local lenders, from whom she had borrowed demanded money back. So, she finally decided to begin to work around her hardships so that she could show them that she was serious about paying the money back. With as low as Rs 100, she started venturing into the chips and snacks business again. She opened a hot chips stall at Thrissur railway station, called it Awathi Hot Chips.
The talent she had learnt from her family was put to good use as within just a few months, Elavarasi's snacks became a huge hit and she had a long list of daily customers who would buy from her. Hot chips, vadas from her stall were much sought after. And evntually,with the success, luck smiled on Elavarasi again as she started repaying borrowed money. And with her profits, she also started not one, two but four more stalls in Thrissur. Her stores prepare as many as 60 products, including sweets, snacks, cakes, and pickles.
Elavarasi has also won the International Peace Council UAE Award in 2019 for ‘Best Entrepreneur’.