Small business operator seizes opportunity to build better and bigger

Anushil Gounder outside his container restaurant in Lautoka. Picture: SUPPLIED

Businessman Anushil Gounder’s business was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to most businesses in the country but instead of buckling under the pressure he decided to seize the opportunity to build back better.

Mr Gounder owns and operates Expresso Onestop drive-through in Lovu, Lautoka and although he went through a lot and was faced with a number of challenges brought about by the pandemic, he stood fast and made his dream a reality.

“COVID-19 has brought suffering to all. The economic and social disruptions caused by the pandemic is devastating, however I recognised this opportunity to build back better.”

He said business was badly affected by the lockdown, curfew hours and other restrictions and he had to think outside the box to do whatever suitable to run his car wash, mimimart and autogas in order to cater for all his expenses.

“That’s where I ventured into food. I started advertising on my Facebook page, took orders for pick-up and even delivered. The response was great as customers started to slowly build up. I only started with hot dogs and slowly kept introducing new quick bites.”

Mr Gounder said once the restrictions and lockdown were lifted there was good movement and slowly business was picking up since they were a 24/7 business and they could feel it made a very positive impact.

“I previously rented a caravan that had a mini mart and small kitchen space and always dreamt of owning a container with my concept. I worked harder than before, slept at the caravan even on certain days.

“I was finally able to get my own 40ft container and with the Fiji Development Bank’s help I set my dream into reality where it had a mini mart, kitchen, office space and sleeping area.”

His support and inspiration came from his family, friends and customers who all gave him the courage to make it all happen.

“There will often be times when you’ll fall, feel like giving up but always keep getting up and continue from where you left off. You will definitely make it one day. Anything is possible if the heart is willing, just give it your all and God will do the rest.”

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