BusinessIce Cream Parlours

From 1 handcart to 40,000 touch points, this is India’s fastest growing ice cream company

When Satish Chona, a young engineer with BOAC (now British Airways) decided to make and sell ice-cream to supplement his income, little did he know that 70 years later, he would have built India’s fastest growing ice-cream company spread across 14 states, and available at over 40,000 locations and counting. This is the story of how Acchai (Goodness), Sachhai (Truthfulness) and Safai (Cleanliness) built Havmor, a frozen dessert empire.

The Early Days

Crossing borders

It was before the partition in the year 1944 when Satish Chona decided to set up a pop-up ice cream shop in Karachi, Pakistan, called Havmor. What he started as a part-time venture to supplement the family income soon grew into a popular local ice cream brand. But the year 1947 proved to be a tumultuous one with the partition of India and Pakistan. Mr. Chona and his family were forced to leave everything behind in Karachi as they migrated to India overnight in search of safety.

Ice Cream from a cart

A labor of love

After attempting to set up a base in a couple of Indian cities including Dehradun and Indore, Mr. Chona eventually decided to start his ice cream business in Ahmedabad. Here, the weather would stay warm for a better part of the year, which meant potentially higher ice cream sales. Mr. Chona began Havmor operations with just 200 rupees from a humble handcart that he would take to the Ahmedabad railway station. Every day, he would sell ice cream from his handcart that he and his wife, Mrs. Nirmal Chona, painstakingly churned all night. To increase revenues, Mr. Chona would borrow a friend’s cycle and sell ice cream around Ahmedabad while his friend would take care of the handcart.

Havmor Mango Range

Goodness, Truthfulness, and Cleanliness

While Mr. Chona worked tirelessly, it was his unwavering focus on 3 values – Acchai (Goodness), Sachhai (Truthfulness) and Safai (Cleanliness) – that helped him lay a solid foundation for the business. These 3 values still remain core to everything that is done at Havmor. Havmor’s range of products is today available across 14 markets in India with a network of restaurants, eateries and Havfunn parlors.

If you’re looking to indulge in the Havmor range of ice creams, you can hop down to your local grocery store, or better yet, visit the Havmor ice cream parlor on Chogm Road in Porvorim to taste exciting new flavors such as the Cheese & Berries, Day and Night, or the Pink Guava.

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Mark Rocha

Mark Rocha is a musician and entertainer living in Goa. He's a published author, a husband, and the father of three dogs. Woof.

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