Corona Mein Dhamaal — Record 3,200 Attend Desi Brothers Farmers Market Grand Opening


Houston: Never did Desi Brothers nor Masala Radio imagine that during COVID, a Social Distance Grand Opening would bring out nearly 3200 guests on the first day!  When CEO Vipul Patel asked Masala Radio to do the grand opening, Sunil Thakkar thought August 15th (Indian Independence Day) would be the perfect date, but that was in 12 days and the store was totally empty. General Manager Kaushal Patel took it up as a challenge and in 9 days filled  21,000 SF packed with groceries floor to ceiling.  It was on!

Sandhya Thakkar said “This would have been the first “in person” Indian community event in 5 months, I feared only 300 – 500 would turn out.  The first 5 guests lined up at 8AM – and by 10AM there were hundreds in line wrapped around the building, even though we handed out numbered tickets so they could wait in their car and not lose their place!”  Indeed, it was a Social Distance Party with Masala Radio 98.7 FM live, DJ Nish, Infused Dancers, Singers, Indian Rickshaw, Bajaj scooters, Balloons, and tons of giveaways including 500 Laxmi Silver Coins, Idli Sambhar, Pakoras, Haldiram Snacks & Quick Tea.

“It felt so good to get out of the house and SEE PEOPLE,” exclaimed Swapan Dhairyawan.  “I felt ALIVE!”  People queued up for incredible deals like 3 lb Almonds for $7.99, 4lbs Toor Dal for $1.89, and Kent Mangoes for $2.99.   Vipul Patel said “We have done grand openings of our stores in Austin and Memphis, but this was beyond my imagination.  Houston is a crazy city.  I knew Masala Radio was known for their promotions and grand opening but no one expected this kind of turnout.  I want to thank the city of Sugar Land for letting us do this event.  I kept telling Sunil to announce on radio that there will be no limits on the sale items and we will not run out of anything.  I had 7 containers parked in the back and I could not believe we still ran out of almonds by the end of Saturday.  Thankfully we replenished them Monday morning.   In my 25 year history of grocery business, I have never seen a grand opening as big as this.  My family, friends and staff from Austin, Chicago, Memphis & St. Louis came to help, and they were just kept re-stocking Dal-Besan-Rice-Almonds-Dal-Besan-Rice-Almonds in an endless loop.”

Did people really dance…in a grocery store?  Just ask Fort Bend County Constable Trevor Nehls, current GOP candidate for Fort Bend County Sheriff, as he twisted to Bollywood music and handed out Silver Coins and Indian flags to the delight of guests.   Joining him in grooving was City of Sugar Land Councilman Naushad Kermally.   Kermally was instrumental in guiding Masala Radio to navigate city permits to conduct the Grand Opening.  Desi Brothers just fell inside City of Sugarland borders, and the area’s Councilman Stewart Jacobson was proud to join Nehls and Kermally in the ribbon cutting and giveaways.   Judge KP George arrived at 11am for the store inauguration flanked by security on either side.  He congratulated Vipul & Kaushal Patel for their beautiful store and thanked them for hiring local Fort Bend staff.  Over 150 VIP guests, local businessmen and community leaders came in to celebrate.  They were treated to VIP lunch area, and a commemorative thali gift set.  Swapnil Agrawal, CEO Karya Properties came with his extended family, exclaiming, “I am a proud Indian and we came because today is Aug 15th.  This is so much fun… Jai Hind!”  CEO of Aisha’s Group’s Khalid Haseeb said, “this is like a desi Sam’s Club!”   Aziz Panjwani CEO Toro Imports came with Nisha holding the Indian flag and danced to “Chak De India”

The City of Sugar Land maintained the most stringent regulations for safety – 2 days before the opening the Fire Marshall ordered all sprinkler heads to be replaced overnight.  Desi Brother’s and Masala Radio’s  adherence to 6ft separation, cart & hand sanitizers, required masks, entry temperature checks, and tight security monitoring of 50% capacity assured patrons that safety was the highest priority of the day. Originally scheduled to open in March,  the store had to push back the Grand Opening to August only due to COVID.  A crew of 40+ worked 20 hour shifts for 2 weeks to offer a flawlessly clean and fully stocked store.  “Kaushal Patel, smiled wide despite only 2 hours of sleep the night before, and managed stocking, registers, and guests as if he was born in a grocery store.   Even though the name of the store is Desi Brothers, the force behind the store are the Desi Bhabhis – Prithvi & Priyanka – the respective wives of Vipul & Kaushal – who didn’t take a moment’s break from opening to close keeping things moving Saturday and Sunday, combatting the checkout lines that wrapped around the entire store!

Kaushal Patel said “We take pride in all our DB brand products.  We guarantee them 150%.  If you are not satisfied with our Desi Brothers & Geeta brand products, being them back with or without receipt, even open bag no problem.”  To that Vipul Patel added, “empty bag also no problem.  Full refund with a smile.  You will always find our staff smiling and willing to help.  In September, Vipul’s Kitchen is opening in the back of the store with seating capacity of 50.  All vegetarian food, with samosas, pakoras, idlis and vadas all for 99c, dosas for $2.99, and full Gujarati Thali for $4.99.   Thank you Masala Radio for the amazing grand opening, thank you to all our suppliers, and THANK YOU HOUSTON.”

Desi Brothers comes with 30 years of grocery experience, and they promise a huge variety of farm fresh produce and low prices on all Indian Groceries.  The grand opening sale continues until Aug 30th, and right now it looks like the entire store is on sale!   Visit them at 4620 HWY 6 South @ Austin Parkway, 281-417-DESI (3374), or Facebook/Desi Brothers Sugar Land.

Log on to Masala Radio Houston’s Facebook for sales flyer and pictures from the spectacular grand opening.  Masala Radio would like to thank their awesome event team – Alisha, Ruchir, Dhaval, Ninad, Simra, Sofia, Shruti, Dilip, Anees, Khusboo, Seema, and Haroon. Masala Radio 98.7 is Houston’s 24 hour Indian FM Radio.  Bringing the entire community together…. Halo re halo !!!