Pak’nSave Silverdale

From packing groceries to supermarket owner

  • AKLD-client-profile_Vinod-Bhaga-web

    “The success of my business, I believe, is all to do with my people.” - Vinod Bhaga

A dream was born when Vinod Bhaga was a young teenager, flicking through his father’s copy of the Grocer’s Review magazine. Seeing a new New World in Clendon he knew he wanted to one day own his own supermarket. Little did he know that this would be the first supermarket he would in fact go on to own and operate.

Vinod left school in the mid-1980s at 15 years old and started pursuing his dream. His first job was in a Pukekohe supermarket where he packed groceries and swept the floors. This has meant that Vinod has had the benefit of understanding the supermarket operation at every level as he has gradually worked his way up.

Through Foodstuffs he completed in-house training and then went onto night school to do his New Zealand Institute of Management Diploma. Vinod has come from a grocer’s background with his father starting in a dairy and moving to own and operate a Cut Price store in the Wellington area.

After several years in management moving through different Foodstuffs supermarkets, Vinod spent time at the Lincoln Road Pak’nSave where he started as Assistant Grocery Manager. Later, he became a buyer and eventually moved into the store manager position.

These opportunities stood him in good stead for a life changing moment in 2006, when he was awarded a trainee operator scholarship.  A programme unique to Foodstuffs develops staff with leadership capability and provides them with an interest-free loan, through the scholarship, to purchase their own supermarket within the co-op system.

This was Vinod’s dream to reality moment. The supermarket he was set to own and operate was that very same New World he had seen in this father’s Grocers Review magazine.  More recently in 2012, he went on to sell this supermarket and purchased the new Silverdale Pak’nSave, experiencing building a business from the ground up.

“The success of my business, I believe, is all to do with my people. When I opened Silverdale three years ago I had to have the right people; I needed to find leaders rather than managers, who could instill the culture I was after. The leaders needed to be able to do this from day one,” says Vinod.

Clearly communicating his own vision and showing his staff what that translated to in his own actions, built the start of an effective company culture. Vinod says, “I wanted all my staff to be able to say to themselves, ‘I am respected and have an opportunity to grow. I know what my expectations are and I am appreciated’.”

Relationships are extremely important to Vinod; this naturally extend to his accountant Kiran Bhikha at Moore Stephens Markhams Auckland.

Vinod says, “The main reason I went with Kiran was because I could have direct communication with him. I wanted someone who understood my business and personal side. He’s great with business advice and structure and has been outstanding in planning scenarios.

“With Kiran it’s like we’re talking the same language, he has been influential on key decisions for investments and structures. He has a wide scope of knowledge that we can draw on.”

Staying motivated isn’t difficult for Vinod, he is genuinely passionate about what he does. His biggest satisfaction though, and what really keeps him motivated in his business, is the development of his people. Vinod has already had one person go through the ranks to become an owner/operator. Having been helped through to this position himself he is making sure to pay it forward.

Pak’nSave Silverdale

Published Spring 2015.

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