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    Sandea Wholesale: From crisis to opportunity to success story

    When others saw a problem, this entrepreneur spotted an opportunity. While the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on supplies and logistics thus leading to shortages in stores, businessman Sanjeet Manek “seized the moment, viewing it as an opportune time to enter the wholesale market”, and thus started Sandea Wholesale.

    Rest, as they say, is a story worth stocking up on.

    In a span of just four years, Harrow-based Sandea Wholesale has emerged as one of the leading suppliers of complete range of European branded fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) including branded confectionery, dairy-free range, new-to-market functional drinks and soft drinks apart from cosmetics, over-the-counter (OTC), and toiletry products at competitive prices.

    Today, Sandea Wholesale not only boasts of a diverse product portfolio but also has been partnering with esteemed brands such as Eucerin, CeraVe, Bioderma and many more, thus playing a pivotal role in enhancing these brands’ market presence in the UK.

    Speaking exclusively to Asian Trader, Manek explained in detail the structure of his wholesale business, challenges he faced and overall plan.

    “Sandea Wholesale’s genesis amidst the Covid-19 pandemic was both strategic and opportunistic. While the pandemic wreaked havoc on global economies, I recognized a unique opening in the market’s turbulence.

    “Despite the formidable challenges posed by the pandemic, including logistical complexities and fluctuating market dynamics, I managed to seize the moment, viewing it as an opportune time to enter the market.”

    The pandemic, rather than hindering Sandea Wholesale’s inception, served as a catalyst for its emergence, showcasing the company’s resilience and adaptability in adverse circumstances, he added.

    Sandea Wholesale: From crisis to opportunity to success story

    However, it was not an easy road as Sandea Wholesale encountered a myriad of challenges at its inception, stemming primarily from the unprecedented disruptions caused by the pandemic.

    Manek said, “The company grappled with severe shortages of stock and raw materials, exacerbating an already volatile market environment. Scarce availability of popular products

    compounded the difficulties, further compounded by erratic price fluctuations resulting from raw material scarcities and logistical bottlenecks.”

    Moreover, escalating fuel costs and inflationary pressures added to the company’s operational woes, presenting formidable obstacles in its nascent journey, he added.

    While the company primarily operates on a delivery model, retailers have the flexibility to either have products shipped to their location or collect them directly from Sandea Wholesale’s warehouse. Presently, the wholesaler exclusively operates on a delivery model and has not yet implemented a cash and carry system.

    Sandea Wholesale operates within the confines of the UK market. This network encompasses retailers across various sectors, ranging from small-scale enterprises to larger establishments, each contributing to Sandea Wholesale ‘s extensive reach and market penetration.

    Sandea Wholesale: From crisis to opportunity to success story

    The wholesale group has recently joined the buying group Sugro UK.

    Manek said, “Situated in Harrow, Sandea Wholesale stands as a beacon of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. Commencing operations amidst the pandemic, the company has demonstrated unwavering commitment to excellence, epitomised by its dedication to service, value for money, and product diversity.”

    Manek believes that the ability to navigate business and trading challenges is Sandea Wholesale’s unique appeal.

    Sandea Wholesale’s ability to navigate the challenges of a volatile market landscape while upholding its core values underscores its unique proposition as a trusted partner for retailers seeking reliability and quality in their supply chain, he added.

    Over the last couple of years, Sandea Wholesale has been garnering attention and lapping widespread recognition and acclaim through various awards like the honour by Asian Food and Restaurant Awards International 2023.

    Recently, the wholesaler was honored with the prestigious honour- Group Rising Star Award- at the Sugro UK 2024 Annual Trade Show, sponsored by AG Barr plc.

    Earlier in April 2024, Manek was invited to “Who’s Who” award ceremony held at the esteemed House of Commons to celebrate the accomplished British Asian individuals from various sectors who are at the top of their respective arenas.

    Sandea Wholesale: From crisis to opportunity to success story

    Amidst the illustrious gathering that saw the presence of Virendra Sharma MP, Feryal Clark MP, Seema Malhotra MP FRSA, and James Murray MP, among other dignitaries, Manek was honored with the “Rising Star” award as a testament to his unwavering dedication, tireless efforts, and exceptional leadership that have propelled Sandea Wholesale to new heights.

    “This accomplishment is not something that I did alone, there are many others who have been instrumental in helping me to achieve this award. I would like to thank my family and my team for their endless love, encouragement and support and I am truly grateful for all you have done,” he said at the time.

    Manek is an alumnus of Royal Holloway, University of London, with 13 years of experience in investment banking. At the same time, he comes from a family whose heritage is deeply rooted in the world of commerce. Growing up within a Gujarati family known for its business acumen in East Africa, he too imbibed the ethos of entrepreneurship from a tender age.

    Apart from wholesaling, Manek is also committed to giving back. He actively contributes towards charitable causes like supporting Tanzania-based organisations that facilitates the acceptance students with disabilities to learn alongside other children in the classroom. Another cause supported by him aims to provide cancer-struck children with free care and appropriate access to pediatric oncology services.

    Looking ahead, Sandea Wholesale aims to grow through innovation and diversification.

    Manek told Asian Trader, “Embracing digital transformation as a cornerstone of its growth strategy, the company aims to leverage technology to enhance operational efficiency and customer engagement. Additionally, Sandea Wholesale is committed to expanding its brand portfolio, both domestically and globally, fostering strategic partnerships with emerging and established brands alike.”

    Through continuous innovation and a customer-centric approach, Sandea Wholesale aims to solidify its position as a market leader, delivering value and excellence to its clientele, he concluded.

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