This Lebanese-Brazilian Built a Little Food Empire

It is 10 o’clock in the morning. Aldemir Abdala runs from one side to the other. He visits all four of his stands at the Municipal Market in São Paulo in a few minutes, always paying attention to the movement of clients. He crosses Cantareira street, to where his warehouse is and checks the new loads of products that have just arrived.

He then returns to the market, talks to a bank manager, solves bureaucratic problems, answers the telephone that rings incessantly and still has time to smile at clients who walk by the establishment. In this hectic routine, among scents and flavors, he finds time to tell his story.

Abdala started working early, at the age of six. He comes from a Lebanese family that, according to him, has a talent for trade. Banca do Ramon (Ramon’s Stand) has belonged to the Abdala family since 1933.

"My schooling, my college was in trade," he prides himself. The teachings of his forefathers, however, were developed by Abdala. "I saw that the stand could grow and made serious investment," he states. The small fruit business of the 1930’s became a large retailer. Today Abdala sells over 4,000 items.

The change took place over ten years, and was daring though planned. First of all the businessman changed the design of his stand, adding products, then hiring new employees – there are now 69 – and, little by little, he acquired other spaces in the Market.

He also established a delivery system that, incidentally, goes very far. The products from Banca do Ramon travel the whole of Brazil. Orders are made by telephone and delivery is by airlines or bus. "We always seek what’s best for the client," stated the businessman.

Everything was reached with great effort and with no free time. The four stands open at 05:00 am and do not really have a closing time, according to Abdala.  It is common for the businessman to leave the Market after 07:00 pm.

"When the client movement ends – at around 06:00 -, we start a new journey," he explained. He and his brother-in-law, Adonis, of Greek descent, take the orders of restaurants in São Paulo, to be delivered during the next day, and also orders from all around the country.

The orders, amazingly, are taken without the use of computers. "Banca do Ramon is an old-fashioned store," jokes Abdala. Inventions by Bill Gates and company do not enter the store, for the time being. Everything is done "by eye", and Abdala has a good eye.

He knows exactly what is missing on he shelves, what needs to be replaced. "I supervise everything that enters the stand," he explains. He has a lot of work. Among the 4,000 items are foods from all four corners of the world. There is caviar, squid ink, boar salami, olive oils, Italian truffles, and much more.

Abdala is also rumored to be a good cook. He confirms the rumor. He cooks paella, Italian dishes and, of course, cod – of which he sells large volumes at Banca do Ramon.

"I like cooking and that helps very much when talking to customers," he says. It helps so much that it is common for Abdala to receive phone calls from clients interested in recipes, after ideas for a special dinner. He teaches with pleasure.

Charm, incidentally, is one of Abdala’s secrets. To him, those in trade must always be charming to customers. It is also necessary to be versatile: to keep to tradition, but to innovate when necessary.

Banca do Ramon is an example of the good use of modern tools – like delivery – in partnership with old-fashioned trade, which believes in a good chat with the client and that products are guaranteed by the owner of the store.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

UK Prosecution Refusal to Charge Killers of Brazilian Angers Dead’s Family

Following British prosecutors refusal to bring charges over the death of Brazilian citizen Jean ...

Brazil Rushes to Get Environmental Approval for Hydroelectric Plants

Following quickly on the heels of the announcement that the Brazilian government intends to ...

Brazil Says FARC Guerrillas Have Base in Brazilian Territory

According to secret Federal Police reports, extracts of which were published Sunday by daily ...

Brazil Chalenging US Leadership and Raring to Be New IDB Boss

After 17 years at the helm of Latin America’s largest source of development financing, ...

Brazil Reaches 190 Million People, But Will Stop Growing in 30 Years

The population of Brazil reached 189.6 million and will cease to grow in 30 ...

We Won’t Rerun US War in Iraq, Says Brazil’s Lula Concerning Bolivia

On Friday, May 5, in a conversation with reporters, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula ...

Brazilian movie director Ozualdo Candeias

Dies the Father of Brazil’s Marginal Cinema

Filmmaker Ozualdo Ribeiro Candeias who died, at age 84, yesterday, February 8, in São ...

Brazil’s Lula Called On to Soften Bush’s Heart on World Poverty

The United Nations seems to be failing to deliver on its  first Millennium Development ...

Brazil Starts Campaign Against Sex Slavery

Women are the chief targets of a campaign launched today by the Brazilian federal ...

Social Activism Makes Brazil’s Petrobras Member of UN Committee

Petrobras, the first and only Latin American company that is a member of the ...