Mombasa’s Blue Room whips up recipes to build a lasting legacy

On the original island town of Mombasa – long before the exodus of businesses and homes onto the mainland – there was a modest restaurant and ice cream parlour just off Digo road, the main street that runs through the centre of the city.

It had a nondescript name, but it wormed its way into the stomachs of island residents, and today Blue Room is celebrating 64 years in business making it one of the oldest family run establishments in the country.

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Published in Business Daily. March 12 2014


How dukawallah family built top supermarket brand

The story of Chandarana Supermarkets embodies the stereotype of the Indian dukawallah in Kenya.

Shantilal Mulji Thakkar, the founder, opened his first grocery store at the Highridge Shopping Centre in Parklands in 1964. It was a different era for retail sales, a time when service was highly personalised, and so instead of browsing aisles and picking items off shelves — as is the practice today — Shantilal served his customers across the counter, handing them brown paper packets of grains, powders and spices.

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Published in Business Daily, October 15 2013

Emergency brakes for Akamba bus

The origins of Akamba Public Road Services can be traced to 1960 in Machakos where it began with just a few buses. Its founder, Mr Sherali Hassanali Nathoo, grew the company to become one of the most experienced long distance passenger bus transport and courier companies in East Africa with a network spanning over 50 destinations.

In September 2000, Mr Nathoo passed away and bequeathed his shares to his wife Zarina and sons Moez and Karim. Moez and Karim, with their majority shareholding, became directors and took the driving seat.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, June 2012

Educated third generation threatens survival of once thriving Indian family-owned business

AA Mithaiwalla is reknowned for the mithai (Indian sweets) and savoury snacks that it sells in the Nairobi suburb of Pangani. It began when Abdulali Alibhai Mithaiwalla arrived by ship in Mombasa from India in the early 1920s.

He was a hardworking young boy determined to make his fortune in a foreign country, and with a family background steeped in the sweets-making tradition his destiny was clear-cut.

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Published in Business Daily, May 10 2012