Mafat and Tulsi Patel were originally from Gujarat and wanted to open a grocery store in Chicago. In 1971 they made a pilgrimage from Gujarat to Chicago and opened Patel Brothers in 1974. The grocery store was 900 square feet with little anatomical logic. There were three family members who staffed the store. It was open from nine to nine every day. But soon they had a loyal following, and were able to expand.
Mafatlal and Tulsi Patel
Mafatlal and Tulsi founded Patel Brothers Indian Grocery Store in Chicago, Illinois in 1982. The brothers, both graduates of the University of Michigan, had been working as quality control inspectors for Jefferson Electric in Chicago when they decided to venture into the grocery business. Initially, they sold only Indian snacks, but soon expanded to sell prepared foods, including microwavable meals.
Tulsi Patel, a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering, is studying the process of combining materials in an additive manufacturing environment. Previously, she studied chemical engineering and worked on dye-sensitized solar cells. Tulsi has a background in materials science and engineering, and she has a Master’s degree from the Politecnico di Milano.
In the US, the Swetal Patel brothers first became famous when they started importing Indian food from India. They found work at Reliance, the nation’s biggest manufacturing conglomerate. The next year, they opened their second store in Chicago. The two brothers now employ more than 650 people. And the business is growing rapidly. The two brothers are committed to helping the community by bringing quality food from India to the US.
As the business has grown, so has the demand for Indian food. Swetal Patel, the VP of purchasing for Raja Foods, says that location decisions are often based on demographics. In Chandler, Ariz., the population was sufficiently large and the demographic standards were high enough to support an Indian grocery store. Since then, Swetal Patel has served as the vice president of Raja Foods, a division of the Patel Brothers chain.
Swetal Patel’s family
While a member of the second generation of South Asian Indian Americans, Swetal Patel now helps her family run a successful grocery store in Chicago. The family-run business, Patel Brothers, is a large chain of Indian grocery stores with stores in several major American cities. Swetal Patel began working at an early age and has been involved in the company for 32 years. As vice president of Raja Foods, she is responsible for purchasing and management of stores in Chicago and Atlanta.
The store began as a small operation in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. The family eventually grew to include a sister and brother, Tulsi and Mafat. The two made the trip from Gujarat to start the business. In 1974, they opened their first store, Patel Brothers. The store started as a modest operation, with just 900 square feet of space. The shelves were messy, and employees traded shifts between nine in the morning and nine at night. During the week, they would take second jobs, often working weekends and holidays.
Locations of Patel Brothers
Patel Brothers is an American grocery chain founded by a family of Indian immigrants. The brand is known for its selection of authentic Indian groceries, spices, dry goods, frozen items, fresh produce, and more. With over ten locations in eight states, Patel Brothers has become one of the country’s most popular Indian supermarket chains. The chain’s storefronts use conventional steel-frame construction and custom interior finishes. Patel Brothers’ stores have become an American icon.
The first Patel Brothers store opened in 1974 by Mafat Patel, the eldest of six children in a traditional Gujarat family. Mafat convinced his brother Tulsi to immigrate to the U.S., and the Patel brothers were off and running. The store expanded with the families of the two brothers, and the children of the owners helped stock shelves and work the aisles. Almost four decades later, Patel Brothers is still a family business.