Vishala-3 Opens in Masala Style

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Photos: Pinky Hajra

By Shah Ahmed

HOUSTON: April 11, may have been just any other Sunday, but leave it to three enterprising businessmen, and the grand opening of the third location in their growing chain of grocery stores, it was a Sunday to be remembered.  At the intersection of Westheimer and Eldridge, Vishala-3 opened in style – Masala Radio style – with Sunil T, Masala Radio’s lead RJ and CEO.  Co-owners, Virendra Thakkar, Sanjay Patel, and Vyomesh Patel, beamed as a steady stream of customers lined up.

“The number of Indo-Americans, particularly Gujaratis, has exploded in all areas of Houston.  When we saw this shopping center on Westheimer at Eldridge, we knew this would serve the need for the rising population currently not served in the Energy corridor,” Virendra Thakkar recalled.

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As soon as Sunil T made his entry in his red SmartCar, the music was revved up.  Eagerly anticipating his antics, the crowd that had now formed, cheered along.  The DJ mixed in popular Bollywood tracks, which led to unrehearsed dance performances with Sunil T and the Crazy Masala Crew encouraging onlookers to join in.  Virendra-Bhai happily rewarded selected participants with ten-pound rice bags.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was graced by Sugar Land City Council member, Himesh Gandhi.  He also helped draw winners for the grand prizes, which included a free round-trip air ticket to India and two free cruise tickets courtesy of Ketki and Travelguzs.

The gloomy weather couldn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.  Free silver coins and saffron boxes were distributed to the first 50 families who braved the weather.  Shoppers enjoyed complimentary Deep fruit juices, savory pani puris, Royal India tea, Chatpat snacks and a lot more.  Masala Radio’s Jay-Bhai played rickshaw driver, offering rides in the parking lot to children in the adorable red Masala rickshaw.

As he saw everyone enjoying the party atmosphere and snacks, Vishala-3’s general manager, Sanjay-Bhai, smiled saying “…the fun started as soon as Sunil T showed up.  He knows how to keep everyone entertained.  Of course, especially the ladies love him and his recitation of shayaris, and unprepared humorous audience interactions.”  Priyanka Madhavaram, a first-time Vishala-3 shopper, noted “There’s no Indian grocery store in this area.  I was so happy when Vishala-3 opened.  The prices are so reasonable; they have all the varieties I need.  I loved the pani puris and the grand opening party!”

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A spur-of-the-moment mini-Vishala-Idol competition was held where contestants randomly picked from the rapidly expanding crowd that had now formed, sang patriotic songs.  Manoranjan Inc.’s Ajit Patel and Nisha Mirani presented a ticket to their upcoming event, Jaago Hindustani, to the best contestants.

Vyomesh-Bhai said, “This is exactly how I had envisioned our grand opening – fun and family-friendly.  I just love how Masala Radio conducts these events.  I remember when Vishala-2 in Katy opened.  Sunil T was there and turned our grand opening into one big party.   For us, our customers are always #1!  We do our best to make the grocery shopping experience as pleasant and smooth as possible.  I want to thank our customers and Houston for making Vishala stores a success.”

Masala Radio Events specializes in grand openings with everything from DJ/music, decorations, tents, Indian-themed wind dancers covering the opening of the store.

Vishala -3 is located at 13314 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX, phone #281-496-7864.  Vishala-2 Katy is at 5205 S. Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450; phone #281-492-2020 and Vishala-1 Sugar Land is at 9410 Hwy-6 South, Houston, Texas 77083; phone #281-498-0220.  Call for sales and store hours.