Nostalgia Life & Style

The ghee destination

Balaji, owner of Sri Murugan Ghee stores

Balaji, owner of Sri Murugan Ghee stores   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The 70-year-old ghee store has been the go-to place for many a retailer in the city

Buying ghee at Sri Murugan Ghee stores has been my monthly chore even since my school days. Involving multiple purchases (for aunts and neighbours), I would always question the need to traverse the narrow lanes of Badichowdi to make a purchase only get one standard reply – “It’s always fresh”.

Indeed it is this very quality which has kept this 70 year old store in good stead all these decades ensuring that loyal patrons make a beeline into this tiny lane where parking (even for two wheelers) is a nightmare. But neither new swanky outlets nor the Metro construction in the vicinity has stemmed the number of footfalls at this small store which specialises in selling ghee.

Started by A V Shanmugam at the age of 17 who moved to Hyderabad from Tamil Nadu in the early 1950s the store remains in the same premises ever since its inception. The second generation owner, S Balaji reveals that while earlier they used to get the ghee from Tamil Nadu, to meet the increasing demand they started their own factory in Uppal which can produce an output of nearly 100 tonnes each month and now supply to most restaurants in town.

The work is evenly distributed between Shanmugam’s three sons – while the eldest Jawahar Raj takes care of the factory, the second son Balaji is in charge of their two stores (in Badi Chowdi and Ashok Nagar) and takes care of the marketing while the youngest Venkatanand looks after the financial aspect of the business. As with many family run businesses, all the brothers have grown up helping out in the store and have joined it full time after finishing their education.

Balaji says that they never compromise on quality which is the cornerstone of their success. “We get butter from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and never use preservatives. Our ghee is fresh for nine months and we always make sure that the expectations from our regular clientele are met. Also, our employees have been around for a long time and know how important quality control is for a business such as ours.” he shares.

The store is a firm believer in moving along with the times. While earlier it used to stock only ghee (both buffalo and cow varieties), they have currently expanded into other milk related items like paneer, khowa, curd and butter milk. Balaji proudly shows the new one litre and half litre ghee boxes done up in neon green which are being distributed throughout the city to other outlets in order to broaden their customer base.

Murugan store takes online orders through their website (www.srimuruganghee.com) and supply all across India. Balaji confesses that they don’t want to add more outlets and says that they want to grow organically to ensure that the quality isn’t compromised.

As I make the way out negotiating with the teeming crowds, I run into an old customer R Anasuya, a septuagenarian who says that she has been a customer for four decades. Ask her why she makes a trek from Madannapet only to buy ghee, she simply says, “Because it’s the best ghee in the whole city.”

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2020 3:03:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-story-of-the-70-year-old-murughan-ghee-store-in-hyderabad/article25201407.ece

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