Arun Motillal is an entrepreneur who helps run his family business, Galaxy Foods in Richfield, MN which has been operating for the last 28 years. They serve about 60,000 families a year and sell everything West Indian/Indo-Caribbean from actual food (jerk seasoning, ginger beer, fresh meats, etc.) to lifestyle products and religious items. Prior to that, Arun worked for Securian Financial Group as a Field Marketer for seven years and Target as a Business Process Consultant for another three-plus years.
Arun has the perfect combination of economist, marketer, salesman, and philosopher in a market that we wouldn't normally consider as “perfect” yet he and his family run their business “perfectly”.
He provides a laser-like focus on how to market and present your business or passion given specific constraints and presents business complexities as simple “truths”. If you feel like the term “customer service” or a “customer-centric” approach is getting too…clichéd…definitely give this episode a listen. We also dissect the rarely questioned belief that all businesses MUST grow. It almost seems un-American to question whether your business should grow and it’s more surprising to hear someone say they’d rather focus on one location vs. figure out multi-year scaling plans. Arun provides a great answer to the question: “When is enough, enough”?
- His background as a Guayanese and how that shaped his business.
- How the little things like product placement, packaging, down to how you stand in your store affect the customer experience.
- How to approach different demographics with the same products and services while still providing a unique experience.
- And of course more of his…”human-centric” approach to business.
Highlights & Links:
8:20 - What is Guayanese / Indo-Caribbean?
15:00 - Little Guayana, NYC
15:30 - Indo-Caribbean Cuisine
18:00 - Amerindian methods of preserving food
20:35 - Why Galaxy Foods is more than just an “expanded ethnic aisle” // On Customer Service
24:45 - Pride is a Plague // On shared food experiences
26:35 - On how much work really goes into running a business + perception
34:25 - On NOT growing ("Eat.Drink.Dish" Interview)
44:15 - On serving different demographics, buyer behavior, and the power of brands
51:20 - On the mainstreaming of Indo-Caribbean Cuisine
55:00 - Lessons learned from corporate America: fear and growth
1:03:30 - Presentation matters
Most influential person: his grandmother
Most useful tool: a bright yellow whisk
Ingredients that describe Arun: Cumin, Provisions (cassava, plantains, etc.), Chocolate
Resource: any Economics 101 textbook
The one line story of Galaxy Foods: "Authentic Caribbean"