Surrey International Trade Award a juicy prize for Fruiticana CEO Tony Singh

Published: February 18, 2013

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Tony Singh of Fruiticana

Fruiticana boss Tony Singh thought he would initially open one store, maybe two. Now the successful businessman has 17 locations and a Surrey International Trade Award to boot. Submitted photo

Tony Singh’s award-winning business career started with a mere craving.

When he moved from Montreal to Surrey in 1994, he couldn’t find the staples for his traditional Indian cooking.

“They did not have the full range of vegetarian products, (like) vegetables and lentils I was used to getting,” Singh said. “There were more spices, lentils and rice available in Montreal, but not available in Vancouver.”

That’s how Singh found his “niche.”

“When any immigrant comes to a certain country (it’s) one thing they always miss,” said Singh. “The food — it’s always on the back of your mind when you miss your country.

“I realized there’s a huge Indo-Canadian community here and no one was serving them.”

So in December 1994 he opened Fruiticana, a small store specializing in ethnic and Indo-Canadian spices, lentils and specialty vegetables.

And now nearly 20 years later, Singh has 17 stores across British Columbia and Alberta — he leaped from putting in countless hours alongside minimal staff (his father and wife) to 500 employees spanning the West Coast.

And on Tuesday his hard work will be recognized as Fruiticana receives a Surrey International Trade Award.

“This is something I thought, ‘OK, one store — maybe maximum two.’ And that was the way it started,” said Singh. “From there on … the opportunity was presented and we just keep on growing.”

Fruiticana imports and exports across the globe, with Singh doing the trades himself.

“(Singh) actually goes to the country to get his products and … does the negotiating with farmers in South America or in Mexico — so he actually is on the ground himself as the president and CEO,” said Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Patil Huberman. “He is a true success story.”

At the start Singh had “no idea” how to start up a grocery store. It took hard work, experience and determination.

“It’s very important to have some experience before you put all your eggs in that basket,” he said.

So he based his plans for Fruiticana off his experience working as a manager at a retail company in Montreal.

“If you have an idea in your mind, if you believe it, I think you should work towards that and honestly work hard and anything is possible,” said Singh. “But that said, make sure you have some experience working.”

“Get a job somewhere, learn the (basics) of the business and from there on work very hard and you will make it.”

Singh will receive his International Trade Award Tuesday afternoon at the Sheraton Vancouver Guilford Hotel in the large business category. Surrey’s Safe Software Inc. will receive the same award in the small business category.

“(These awards) really showcase that Surrey is on the global map in terms of doing business globally,” said Huberman.

“When we are able to recognize through appropriate criteria (the) specific businesses, specific winners — they turn into role models for other businesses.

“By giving these awards it just showcases that it can be done … right here in our own backyard.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

Tags: , , , , , ,





Featured

asdlkfjdal

‘I don’t get turned down by girls:’ Calgary man jailed after stalking university classmate

DARYL SLADE CALGARY HERALD A man who became infatuated with a woman in his university class last year then repeatedly stalked her has been jailed….
Continue Reading »

U.S. Republican lawmaker Curt Clawson. Submitted photo/Twitter.

Republican lawmaker apologizes for mistaking U.S. officials as Indian at congressional hearing

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — A freshman Republican lawmaker has apologized for mistaking two senior U.S. government officials as Indian when they testified at a…
Continue Reading »

File photo: A Sierra Leone kabaddi player (R) is tackled by his British opponent during the 4th World Cup Kabaddi Punjab 2013 tournament at a stadium in Chohla Sahib (Tarn Taran), about 55 kms from Amritsar on December 2, 2013. NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

India’s Pro Kabaddi League signs Canadian TV deal

PATRICK JOHNSTON VANCOUVER DESI Canada’s largest South Asian broadcaster, Asian Television Network (ATN), has signed on with India’s Pro-Kabaddi League. The eight-team league launched on…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

asdlkfjdal

‘I don’t get turned down by girls:’ Calgary man jailed after stalking university classmate

DARYL SLADE CALGARY HERALD A man who became infatuated with a woman in his university class last year then repeatedly stalked her has been jailed….
Continue Reading »

File photo: A Sierra Leone kabaddi player (R) is tackled by his British opponent during the 4th World Cup Kabaddi Punjab 2013 tournament at a stadium in Chohla Sahib (Tarn Taran), about 55 kms from Amritsar on December 2, 2013. NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

India’s Pro Kabaddi League signs Canadian TV deal

PATRICK JOHNSTON VANCOUVER DESI Canada’s largest South Asian broadcaster, Asian Television Network (ATN), has signed on with India’s Pro-Kabaddi League. The eight-team league launched on…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Aug. 7

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Aug. 7: On this date: In AD 117, Roman emperor Marcus Trajan died at age 65. His…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

525020624_213567324

Indian baby whose head swelled to three times its size smiling and laughing a year later (w/ photos)

VANCOUVER DESI A three-year-old girl in New Delhi who was given little chance of survival after her head swelled to three times its normal size…
Continue Reading »

An Indian private tutor was caught on CCTV camera brutally beating a child. YouTube screenshot

Private tutor who mercilessly beat child finally arrested in Kolkata

IANS Kolkata  – Private tutor Pooja Singh, who was caught on video brutally thrashing a three-and-a-half-year-old child in Kolkata, was finally arrested Friday, police said….
Continue Reading »

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Indian Bollywood Hindi film director Mahesh Bhatt reads during the launch of the book 'Aaliya' in Mumbai on December 5, 2013. STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Miffed over fake Facebook account, Mahesh Bhatt heads to police

IANS Mumbai — Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt has warned his fans against a fake Facebook account created under his name and says that he will approach…
Continue Reading »

1KUMAR

Akshay Kumar performance to kick off kabaddi league in London

IANS New Delhi  – Bollywood action star Akshay Kumar will perform on the inaugural day of the Wave World Kabaddi League (WWKL), starting Aug 9…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood actors Jacqueline Fernandez (L) and Salman Khan pose for a photograph during a promotional event for the forthcoming Hindi film Kick, produced and directed by Sajid Nadiadwala, in Mumbai on late June 15, 2014. STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Salman Khan’s Eid luck works in favour of Kick release

IANS Mumbai — If you go by the box office collection of Salman Khan’s Kick, you’d agree that the superstar – whose Eid releases like…
Continue Reading »