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Father-son duo munch their way to success in snacks market

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Express News Service

Vikram Agarwal travelled the globe as a marketing director, and was happy with what he was doing. But the foodie in him was longing to explore more. That’s what made this commerce graduate from Delhi University him diversify the electrical business of his father, SP Agarwal, into the food sector with Greendot Health Foods Private Limited (GHFPL).

In 2009, GHFPL entered the Indian snacks market with Cornitos – Nacho Crisps, an in-between-meals snack. “Dad is an avid explorer, and it was his idea to introduce a healthy take on munching with corn-based chips,” says Vikram’s son Shobhit, who joined the business last year, as Director, Cornitos. Vikram is the Managing Director, Cornitos.

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“I was involved with the business all through school and college, but it was only after I completed my graduation [in Food Science & Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign], that I ventured fully into it,” adds Shobhit.

The father-son duo manage the business as a team. The older man’s wisdom and younger one’s fresh approach bodes well for the company. When the pandemic struck, it was Shobhit’s acumen for digitalisation that helped the brand mark its online presence.

“Although we are slowly getting back to our normal office routine, our main focus is building the online presence of Cornitos,” says Vikram.

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“I try to take a digital approach in most of the operations. I am working out ways in which we can innovate and keep Cornitos ahead of our competitors. I share these ideas with my dad and granddad (SP Agarwal) for they are the better judge of whether or not my fresh ideas are workable,” says Shobhit.

Surely, the collaboration cannot be that smooth? There’s bound to be dislikes, skirmishes. “I don’t like his stubborn nature, and being a stickler for doing things his way,” says Vikram.

“And, I don’t like him getting flustered with work, so much so that we have to zone him out so that he can call it off for the day,” adds Shobhit. This apart, the father and son hardly have any work-related disagreements between them.

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“That’s because we have our duties and responsibilities clearly defined and delegated. We have discussions, and even debates, and at times like these it is me who gives in because, Shobhit is guided by my father and supported by his mother,” says Vikram, to which Shobhit quickly interjects: “No, no! Dad’s word rules. And I completely understand that since he has decades of experience behind him, while I am just ayear- old into the business.”

Even the daily working hours have been clearly defined as per the discipline invoked by the seniormost Agarwal. “We just follow the rules my father had made when I was a child,” says Vikram, adding that the option to carry work back to home does not exist.

“In fact, we are not even allowed to hold a ‘work discussion’ at home, those happen strictly in the office. Having all our meals together has been the family tradition, and I have no wish to change this, as this is how we try to get some time off work every day and spend quality time with the family,” he says.

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ON CELEBRATING FATHER’S DAY

Vikram: It is a day to express gratitude towards fathers for their unconditional support. My kids bake my favourite Choco Lava cake.

Shobhit: This day is an opportunity for me to appreciate dad’s selfless affection, love and care towards me and my sister.We prepare the dishes that my father loves to eat. Before pandemic, we have a family dinner at one of dad’s favourite spots.

OTHER INTERESTS

Vikram: Long walks amid nature, and long drives.

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Shobhit: Gymming or playing a sport. I also love watching sports on TV.

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