How did you spend your childhood?
I grew up at Radhadarshanpur in Athagarh locality of Cuttack district. I did my schooling from Khuntakata High School and my higher education in Commerce from Khurda College. Life was beautiful those days in the rural ambience which was peaceful and tranquil.
Why did you decide to become a businessman and not choose any other profession?
My father Mahabeer Ray is a prominent businessman in Athagarh area. We were dealing in wholesale kerosene and groceries. I have learned the intricacies of doing business from my father right from my early days. So it was quite natural for me to become a businessman as I have seen the process from close proximity.
Why did you enter the plywood business and not something your family was involved in?
I decided to start my own business in 1978 and initially, I was keen to enter the agribased products business. However, there was a dearth of plywood stores in Cuttack. I thought plywood could be the perfect substitute for wood to construct buildings and houses. Also, plywood is made from agro-based wood which is eco-friendly. As it is affordable, all segments of customers can use it for interior designing and making other household products. I had all these factors in mind when I started the plywood business.
How is the demand for plywood at present?
Plywood has become an essential ingredient in interior designing and home building. It is also widely used for making furniture. Apart from residential purposes, there is demand for plywood from business houses for their offices and showrooms. One can safely say that plywood has replaced traditional and costlier wood. Besides, we also deal in aluminum, glass, UPVC, and WPVC products because they are in demand.
What is your future roadmap?
We have to bring in many products from states like Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Telangana, and Karnataka as they are not available in Odisha. We would like to embark on the step of ‘Make in Odisha’ and set up a manufacturing unit in the state. In that manner, we can contribute to the state’s economic progress and create avenues for direct and indirect employment.
What do you do in your leisure time?
In my free time, I indulge in social work. I am connected with many educational institutes, community puja committees, and cultural bodies. I am also interested in agriculture and gardening. Most importantly, I am involved in the development of the neglected people in society.
What will be your advice for new entrants in the industry?
A businessman should always prioritise customer satisfaction. With good service, one can gain customers’ trust, which is very important. One must be patient and should run the business honestly. To achieve goals, one has to work with a single-minded devotion.