Local brands in Goa: Goa’s first supermarket chain, Magsons
If you’re in Goa, and looking for a supermarket to do your shopping, Magsons Supercenter is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But, there was a time, not very long ago, when there weren’t any supermarkets in Goa. However, that changed when Magsons Supercentre came up on the shopping scene around three decades ago; forever changing the way that Goa shops.
Not surprisingly, the brainchild behind the Magsons Supercentre brand came from a business family, albeit a completely different line.
“I come from a generation of entrepreneurs, with entrepreneurship built into my DNA. It was more out of circumstances, than choice,” elucidates Kirit Maganlal, owner of Magsons Supercenter, Goa.
A FAMILY OF PIONEERS
In the early 1920s, Maganlal Monji Canji, Kirit’s grandfather, with no formal education came from East Africa to settle in Goa. He was the first to travel to China, Macau and Japan, bringing porcelain ware, carved wooden furniture and objets d’art, which were then exported to Bombay (now Mumbai).
A born atheist, he believed in only the religion of the self. During the long voyages, he studied Portuguese and English, and was among the few in Goa, who articulated Portuguese as elegantly and profoundly. The legacy that he created lives on in his name, and they are known as the Maganlals.
Back in the 1940s, Kirit’s father, a rebel, abhorred the routine trading business, and was among the first few in Goa to own and begin mining. He pioneered seafood exports under the brand KM Seafoods, one of the leading exporters along the West Coast of India. He constructed and operated a fleet of six fishing trawlers, and encouraged fishermen to buy boats to augment their business.
His lifestyle was undemanding, but he enjoyed the finer things in life. The family owned the first Mercedes Benz 180D in Goa. Between the 1950s and ‘70s, he bought and sold VW Beetles, Peugeot and Renault cars. Sometime in the late 1970s, fortune deserted him and business began failing. “Son, we are gentlemen in the rank, but nothing in the bank,” he would say.
LEARNING BUSINESS LESSONS, THE HARD WAY
Vasantlal Canji, Kirit’s uncle played a great role in his formative years. A reader of literature, he gave Kirit books on Sri Aurobindo, mystics and philosophers. A master chess player, he pushed Kirit to master the game, which taught him his first lesson in business: “While fighting competition, there can be only one winner. You have to give it your all; only the winner takes it all!”
The story of three generations continues.
Kirit’s colleague, Adwait, the college badminton champion and hero in Pune, introduced Kirit to badminton. Training under Coach Roshanlal to build endurance and stamina, he soon outplayed opponents in singles matches. That was his second lesson: “Business is for the long haul. Perseverance and the power to endure, to overcome your handicap, and outplay your competition is the only sure mantra for success.”
Among Kirit’s passions is sailing. Four sailing enthusiasts got together and bought a 21-foot Seabird class sailboat in Mumbai. Instead of trucking it down, they decided to sail to Goa, an intense 4-day journey. Apart from other hazards, they got caught in a squall, drifted away to mid-sea, barely close enough to catch a signal and were rescued by the Malvan Coast Guard Police.
“Out there at sea, amidst only elements surrounding you, you being just an insignificant speck in the vast ocean, you felt humbled at your own nothingness! I realized the third most important lesson in business: “The key to success is humility, remaining grounded. The more one remains grounded, the more one realizes the awesome power and beauty of the world around you,” he asserts.
A SUPERMARKET IS BORN
It was time for generation three to take over. Kirit didn’t want to continue the trading profession. After rectifying the past errors, he met Andrea and proposed to her. She suggested that they start a unique industry.
“That's how ‘Magsons’ came about. A year after they were married, in 1988, the foundation stone for the building was laid, and was introduced as the first supermarket in Goa. It’s now the largest retail chain, specializing in offering customers an optimal blend of a supermarket and convenience store, and mergtiatring product innovations.
In 2007, Magsons entered into a strategic tie-up with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd to run their consumer “In&Out” store at the Oasis Petrol Pump, Panjim. Within 5 years, it was awarded the “Vijesh 2010” Award by BPCL for the highest growth in In&Out stores for 2009-‘10, and now has 13 outlets around North and South Goa (retailing meat, fish, bakery, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, ready-to-cook products, wines, condiments, detergents and fresh-line quality products) with an infrastructure ensuring strong supply chain and logistics, and monitoring mechanisms with tech-enabled customer engagement.
The core team of highly-motivated professionals in the central management team are Kirit, Andrea (an educationist and counsellor by profession), Mishal (Masters in Business Management), Prajay (Company Secretary) and Sameer (CFO).
Despite challenges, hurdles and competition, the supermarket chain continue to thrive, and introduced a card loyalty program, called ‘Supercard’ with nearly 30,000 members, which constitutes 70% of the revenue. They also launched a private label of products under the brand name “MagFresh”, and have introduced a home delivery service, and fast-growing online retail through a Magsons online shopping app.
The group has received several awards, including in 2012, Kirit Maganlal was awarded the prestigious Business Goa “Businessman of the Year 2012 Award”. In 2016, the Group was honoured with the coveted “Innovative Retail Concept of the Year” at the Corporate Excellence Awards function by Lokmat at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. In 2017, the Express Group honoured Magsons with the “Trendsetters Honours” Award at the FHW Goa Function. The group also received the Directorate of Social Welfare, Govt of Goa award for Commendable Services in the field of employing disabled children received.
NAME OF THE BRAND: Magsons Supercentre, Goa
LOCATIONS: Miramar, Caranzalem, Panjim, St Inez, Taleigao, Dona Paula, Fatorda, Varca, Zuarinagar, Benaulim, Ponda