Chocolates and Organic Nursery

A 72-year-old chocolate factory run only by women, a building contractor turned agri-entrepreneur, a palace of fairies in the mountains and Bengaluru's snake rescuer are part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
organic grace of god nursery

Chocolates and Organic Nursery

Dear Reader,

I have always enjoyed learning about small businesses and how they create local employment opportunities. It is even more heartwarming when some of these small enterprises become regional or national players. 

One of our stories last week about a similar business goes back to 1951 in the quaint hill town of Ooty. A young man from Mangalore visited his uncle who ran a lodge in Ooty. Roaming around the hills, Janardhan Rao saw that many of the cooks who worked for the British before independence were now jobless. 

Seeing a good market for cakes, bread, and chocolates, he employed some of them and set up a 250 sq ft outlet -- Modern Stores. Today, it has metamorphosed into Moddy’s, which has three stores in Ooty, Coonoor, and Kotagiri and offers 600 products including 200 varieties of chocolates, premium ice creams, bread, desserts, and more.

My colleague Anu has traced the journey from Modern Stores to Moddy’s in her detailed piece. The most outstanding feature is Moddy’s chocolate factory, which is run by 70 women who produce 5,000 kg of chocolates every month. Their salaries are upwards of Rs 20,00 per month and they also get PF, transport, and food facilities. Janardhan’s son Muralidhar and his wife Swathi now manage the business. Do read this story, which combines entrepreneurial spirit with women empowerment and sustainability.

My colleague Aruna spoke to Shuayb Ahmed, who loves wildlife so much that he quit his job to rescue snakes in Bengaluru. He has saved 7,000 snakes including cobras, Russell’s vipers, and many other species in the last 19 years, helping in biodiversity conservation. 

He conducts awareness programmes in schools, colleges, and construction sites and also runs a pet homestay in Bengaluru. Shuayb is living the life of his dreams while serving the ecology.

Last week, I spoke to Ram Vilas Singh, who was a teacher till 2006, a building contractor from 2006 to 2020, and has been a farm entrepreneur since then. When his construction business was hit by the COVID lockdown, he created a YouTube channel to share his knowledge of gardening, which was his hobby. 

Demand from his subscribers (he now has around 5 lakh of them) led him to start his organic nursery in 2020. Today, he supplies manure, pesticides, saplings, and seeds across India from his 9,000 sq ft nursery in Karnal and earns Rs 2 lakh per month. Do read his story if gardening interests you. He sells fruit plants that are already flowering so that you don’t have to wait for long to savour those home-grown guavas and mangoes! 

Our Sunday feature is on Srinagar’s Pari Mahal. Yes, there are legends of fairies associated with this historical monument built by Dara Shikoh around 1650. That’s why the name!

And Karan has written about large-cap stocks, which are set to make a comeback with resilient earnings in a tough economic environment. They are currently trading at a valuation discount compared to mid and small-cap stocks, making them a good purchase option.

Happy Reading!





How this entrepreneur’s all-women factory in Ooty produces 5,000 kg of chocolates every month


This Bengaluru animal lover quit job to rescue snakes; saved 7,000 so far


Building contractor turns agri-entrepreneur, earns Rs2 lakh per month from 9,000 sq ft organic nursery