anda Enterprises, now ‘Panda Travel Mart’, running near the old bus stand since 1976, has been able to create customers all over India. The outlet started by late Gatikrushna Panda has now established itself as a well-known showroom in the city. The entity has seen many ups and downs over the last 44 years. Yet, it has turned its dream of becoming a renowned seller into reality through hard work and will-power.
How has the enterprise fared over last 44 years? Who would you give the credit for this?
The outlet, which started as a small shop, is doing business today from a three-storied building boasting 12,000 sq metres. It has also two more branches at major places in the city. Behind this, there is hard work, trust and faith of employees and love and relationship of customers. The most important thing is that we take customer service and customers’ trust and reliability as our mantra.
How do you see the business in the current financial year and how has Covid-19 pandemic impacted the business?
The business in the current financial year has gone down compared to last year. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected our business. From April to August this year, the sale was low but business has gradually recovered since September. With gradual improvement in the Covid situation, the market had started stabilizing and the business has also improved from October. The business has seen an upturn since the end of December. The government has opened the schools and colleges amid Covid restrictions. Tourism and foreign travel has also normalised gradually; yet, business in the current year will see a big drop compared to the business we had at the same time last year.
What are the plans for this financial year and what will the customers get?
For the last sales of the year, there were many offers and discounts by the mart. Also there are offers for those who pay through cards. It has been planned that various special discounts on travel bag packs, school bags and accessories and products will be offered to customers.
How many branches do you run at present and how many employees are engaged? What has been the effect on them by the pandemic?
The enterprise has three branches in total. In these three branches more than 110 employees of all types have been engaged. Although the showroom was running with hopes and apprehensions during the pandemic, our employees have not faced big problems or salary cuts. As they have been working with us for so many years, I continued to provide all the convenience to my employees like before. I was also in touch with them during the pandemic. Thus they have not been affected as much; just the business was running through a slump.
Shiba Prasad Panda is the MD of Panda Travel Mart, Ashok Nagar.