Migrant Business: Rams International Grocer, Dubbo
His work ethic may have been established in a land far away, but local grocer Twinkalkumar Rupareliya has his feet firmly planted in Dubbo.
As the owner of Rams International Groceries, Mr Rupareliya sells a range of foodstuffs from around the world at the Macquarie St business, specialising in herbs, spices and groceries from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Fiji and parts of Africa.
The grocery store opened in 2011 and Mr Rupareliya took over in 2015, along with his wife Hetal and two assistants.
He believes that if employers undertake the same duties as their employees, it inspires a strong ethic among workers.
“Whatever I do, I work with employees and I will also know what’s happening,” he says. If I work on the same thing, you know how long it will take.
“Recognising hard work; it makes you feel like working.”
“My motto is whatever you do, you do it from the bottom so that you know the bottom, middle and top story.”
It’s an important business mantra which he learned from his parents Mukeshbhai and Dayaben, who operate a plastic manufacturing company in India.
“I have learned from my father, that if the boss was working, we have to work,” he said.
Mr Rupareliya grew up in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat. He speaks English and Gujarati and has a Diploma in Business Management.
He describes Gujarat as the business capital of India and learning about his parents’ company taught him how to handle his own business challenges.
When Mr Rupareliya came to Australia in 2008, he arrived in Brisbane where he did a range of different jobs.
“I was a labourer and site manager in Brisbane, working for AMP Mutual,” he explains.
After moving to Dubbo in 2013, Mr Rupareliya started from scratch. He had always wanted to run his own business and soon started making in-roads towards that goal.
“When I was living in Brisbane, I had looked for a business. My closest friend got a job in Orana, so I moved to Dubbo too.”
“When we moved, we started from the bottom. I started cleaning at the supermarket.
“Looking for a job at that time was difficult. I worked as a cleaner in two banks, I did supermarket night fill. I wanted to gain experience in retail business, so I learned how big supermarkets worked.
“I had never worked in retail before but if you just want to work, it’s easy. I believe in just getting yourself going then looking for something in the field. Anyone can do anything but there’s not always jobs in your field.”
Mr Rupareliya said there are many barriers in the migration process but it has been worth it for the rewards.
“Language was the main barrier, in an English-speaking country.
“Migrants also need assistance with renting a home because real estate agents don’t have trust, 80 per cent of people have an issue.
“I love the lifestyle in Australia although Indian culture is very different.”
Mr Rupareliya said India and Australia are also very different in business terms.
“Australia is very straight forward, it’s very different to doing business in India where the majority runs on credit.”
While his Indian background serves him well, Mr Rupareliya is relishing running a business in Dubbo.
“When I moved here, Dubbo wasn’t growing rapidly like it is now. But I like the pace here.”
He enjoys connecting people with their homeland and introducing Australians to the foods of other countries.
“We are a specialist supermarket and we have a range that others don’t have. We are doing specialist spices. We are giving customers the opportunity to feel like home, for the migrant population to have the same foods, including biscuits and snacks. And for Australians to experience these foods.
“Our clients are 70 per cent international, 30 per cent Australians cooking international cuisine.”
Mr Rupareliya said that people are recognising the benefits of spices such as turmeric.
“Spices are very healthy. In India, we use them in cooking every day. India was known as the spice hub. Australians are picking up the trend.
“The shop has changed a lot too. Before, we were dealing with Indian customers – that now also includes Nepalese, Philippines and African.”
In the future, Mr Rupareliya aims to expand his business further to bigger premises and to cover more of the region.
“We are already supplying Broken Hill, Tamworth, Lightning Ridge, Walgett, Cobar and Forbes.
“Dubbo is growing and we don’t want to miss the opportunity to grow as well. When the town is growing, other things are growing. We have had good support of the local community.
“We are looking forward to growing bigger and offering more variety and not worrying about competitors.
“The store is going to grow into a bigger shop. It’s a busy street, and people can come again. We are growing the business and looking forward to opening another store in the region.
Mr Rupareliya is already receiving recognition for his business success – in 2018, he was presented with a Rhino for Outstanding Young Entrepreneur and was recently a finalist in the Western NSW business awards.
“It gives us happiness, that people are recognising our hard work. It makes you feel like working harder.”
In the future, Mr Rupareliya aims to continue serving the Dubbo community.
“My advice to others is to look to Dubbo to settle. Consider coming to a community that can grow. I am very happy and didn’t have any issues.”
To that end, he said that RDA Orana has certainly helped him along the way.
“I know personally that RDA is very helpful to people. I have heard this from many people that the organisation is doing an absolutely good job.”
“Helping each other is easy, because everyone wants a good job.”