Nashik is famous not only for its sweets and chiwda, but also for fresh and crispy Maruti wafers. The journey of Maruti wafers is just like a fairy tale success story wherein the business was started in a 30 sq. feet room and today stands tall boasting two factories, numerous consumers and one factory outlet.
Mr. Pravin Nikumbh was serving in a Research and Development in the food section of the company that controlled the quality of multinational companies like Cadbury, Nestle, Leher, etc. He thought of starting his own business in 1990, and he started a market survey. After two years, in 1992, he left the job and started production of wafers in a 30 sq. feet rented room at Shingada Talao. Today, Maruti wafers manufactures as much as 40 different types of farsan, mini bhakarwadi, salli, shev, kachori and few types mithai, exclusively for factory outlet.!
Mr. Nikumbh says, “My service with Food Research and Development helped me a lot while starting my own business. I compared quality with the multinational companies. This helped me in maintaining the quality of the wafers.” “I thought of making something that people love to eat. I chose to make only salted potato wafers as they can be eaten even on the days of fast. Many times, it is seen that people prefer eating potato wafers on the day of fast,” he adds.
In 1998, the factory was shifted to Tigrania estates and was recently shifted on the Tapovan Road in 2010. The brand is so famous today that people specifically ask for Maruti wafers while buying. Nikumbh gives credit to the taste of the wafers. The market of Maruti wafers is not confined to Nashik alone. Maruti wafers are also sold in the North Maharashtra. However, Nikumbh believes that market survey was the most difficult task in the journey. More challenging was setting up the market. “For almost 8 years, I used to roam in the market, marketing my wafers. Today, my market is comparatively set,” he shares.
As the thumb rule of marketing says, you cannot advertise a bad product, the quality control and maintaining it was always essential. So how does he uphold the quality level? “I have fixed dealers of potatoes in Indore, Karnataka and Manchar. The breed of potatoes used for wafers is different. Earlier I used to go, but now I have developed good contacts with them and they send me the best of potatoes,” explains Nikumbh. Though raw material is good, and so is the finished product, the packing also needs to be hygienic as well as attractive. For this, Nikumbh has imported a new machine from Japan. This machine, a Yamato company product, auto-packs the wafers to the desired weight and seals it. This machine has reduced the human touch to the wafers, making them more hygienic.
You can buy a packet of wafers from any of the provision stores, as almost all the shops in Nashik are stocked with Maruti wafers. But, if you wish to visit their factory store, you can go to Dwarka, hire an auto and ask him to go take you to the Tapovan Road. Maruti wafers stand tall just round that corner!