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From pursuing pharmacy to running an iconic bakery: Know the delectable tale of Pune’s 50-year-old bakery

Bhushan Giramkar who went from practically no interest in bakeries to running one of the most successful bakeries in Pune. How did the transformation happen? Anjali Shetty brings you the story.

pune Updated: Nov 19, 2017 14:41 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
bakery,new poona bakery
File picture of the first outlet of New Poona Bakery.(HT photo)

As a child Bhushan Giramkar had no interest whatsoever in his father late Rambhau Giramkar’s bakery business. He only looked at his way of earning an income. Little did he know that several years later he would be running the show of the five decade-long family business.

“Honestly, bakery or the hospitality industry never appealed to me. I remember, as a child, I would jump over the fresh batch of bread or pav kept on the floor. Mom would always warn me against doing so. The reason I’m mentioning this is to show how disinterested I was. I was 100 per cent sure I would never be working there. Today, I am glad my father took the decision to push me into it,” said 54-year-old Bhushan.

A Fergusson College and Bharati Vidyapeeth alumnus, Bhushan was one of the students from the first batch of MPharm from Pune University in 1987. “I wanted to be a doctor, but I missed the admission procedure because I fell short of one mark. Out of frustration, I took admission in BSc; luckily that year I was informed of a pharmacy degree in Bharati Vidyapeeth (1982). This is where I met friends from Mumbai and Kolhapur and had a cosmopolitan exposure. My friends had the single-point ambition to complete the degree and move to the US. I was also influenced and I worked towards fulfilling that dream,” said Bhushan wistfully.

Bhushan was dead serious about a career in pharmacy, and after his MPharm, he applied to colleges abroad, took the GRE and TOEFL tests and was working out ways to collect his fee.

“My father came across my file during this period. He did not say a word and directly threw the entire file in the old wooden batti (oven)! It was right here where I saw my dream burn in flames. I was angry, upset and depressed for the next seven months. It was my mom who pushed and encouraged me to take up the family business as a challenge,” added Bhushan.

There was no looking back for Bhushan since then. He not only successfully handled the bakery business with his brothers, but is also grooming the third generation - his sons Kushal, 23, and Karan, 26 - into managing it.

“In the late 80s, Pune’s business owners took pride in the term ‘aamchi kuthehi shaka nahi’ (we have no branches). This was the thumb rule. We were one of the first to make a change. We started with three owned branches and today we have 100 outlets including franchisees.”

New Poona Bakery’s USP continues to be its puffs. Launched as ‘Veg Puffs’, there are now more than five varieties. “In the ‘90s, I along with my brother brought in innovations such as the electric and diesel ovens. I used my pharmacy knowledge to make changes. For example, good manufacturing practice and standard operating process, were subjects that I could easily use as a base in the bakery business too. I am glad that my education came in handy. By this time, my dad started noticing my interest in the business,” said Bhushan.

The journey has not been easy admits Bhushan who d make some mistakes along the way; like giving away franchisees at throw away prices and not working on a proper agreement for the same. Bhushan said, “We later realised the need to fix norms and other aspects for franchisees. Luckily, now everything is in control and on an average I get at least two calls daily regarding franchisee enquiry.”

In 2001, the family launched a huge plant in Wakad and on the first day, the sale amounted to just ₹200. Today, it has touched an impressive ₹80,000 per day. “On Monday, November 13, NPB Jogeshwari completed the ‘Golden Jubilee’ of its famous outlet near Jogeshwari Temple. On this special occasion, we celebrated the event by offering ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ on the delectable puff-pattice (at Jogeshwari outlet only), which contributed to this fame. We sold 1,800 puffs! This goes on to show how much Puneites love our products,” said Bhushan, with considerable pride.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 22:03 IST