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Evolution of Chitale Bhandhu Sweet Mart

“Shut your shop the day you feel tempted to add water to the milk, in order to maximize your profit" Build your business on certain unchangeable values. They give you the strength to sustain and earn you goodwill and respect. Decide your values and stick to them; they don’t depend on those of the others Be known as a reliable manufacturer or service provider. Chitale Bhandhu

Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale, Pune

 There is a small village in the Satara district of Maharashtra named Limb Gaon,  on the bank of river Krishna. No, you would not find it on a map for it is too small. It was even smaller seventy five years ago. In that village, there lived a simple Brahmin family. Chitale.

            Bhaskar Ganesh Chitale was the head of the family of eight. He had three sons and three daughters. The family owned a small farm and cattle, mostly buffalos. Animal husbandry was Bhaskarrao’s chief vocation and he would take good care of his cattle. A strict disciplinarian, he ensured that the animals were well fed and maintained. Naturally, the she-buffalos yielded good amount of milk, enabling Bhaskarrao to sell the excess quantity, after his family’s needs were met. The income from this business meant the family could live a comfortable life. They couldn’t be called rich though.

            Days passed and one day, somewhere around 1935, a stroke of misfortune fell on the Chitale family. In spite of all the care he took of the cattle, Bhaskarrao’s cattle fell prey to a disease and perished! The family was devastated. Overnight, their world had changed … or destroyed, to be precise!

            The villagers, his customers, felt sorry for the family but there was nothing they could do except console them.  Everyone gathered at the Chitale household.

            Bhaskarrao Chitale was a pragmatic man. He was mature and sensible enough to understand that he couldn’t allow the catastrophe destroy him mentally. Having thought through the night, the next morning he declared that the family is leaving the village. The family moved to another village called Bhilawadi in the Sangli district which also on the bank of river Krishna. His eldest son Raghunath went to Mumbai to make a living.

            It was a new beginning. Bhaskarrao Chitale had to start all over again. He somehow managed to raise some money and bought a couple of cattle animals. He began working hard. He knew the business of selling milk so he started that business in Bhilawadi. That was the year 1939, much before India became Independent and the quantity of milk he had at his disposal was 500 litres. (Today it is 5 lakh litres per day)

The milk he sold was pure. He decided a policy that he would never add water in the milk to increase his stock to make more money. That paid him well, because soon, he established a reputation for selling best quality milk and people started buying from him in more numbers. As the days passed, he bought more cattle and his milk supply capacity increased manifold. Forever looking for newer opportunities and driven to think about the utilization of excess production of milk, the progressive Bhaskarrao decided to start making milk derivatives like curd, butter milk, butter and khawa, a product that goes into making sweets from milk. Compared to milk, these products had more shelf life and though they too are perishable, they could be easily transported to other cities. He decided to send his milk to major towns like Mumbai and Pune. Seventy five years ago there were no refrigeration plants to store and no refrigerated vehicles to transport perishable things like milk, therefore, derivatives of milk was the best way to expand your business in other cities. The way to do that was the goods train. Bhaskarrao decided to use that mode of transport and started selling milk products in those two cities.

            This continued for about 4-5 years and it gave Bhaskarrao a good insight into this business. He had a good knowledge of cattle in terms of their yield, health, reproduction cycle and their overall maintenance but he didn’t have the technology to reduce the manufacturing time of the milk products in order to reduce the time to market. With a view to have own retail outlet in Mumbai, he asked his son Raghunath (Bhau) to set up a shop for selling the family’s milk products. Bhau was fairly established in Mumbai by then as he was already supplying butter to railways in Mumbai on a large scale by buying it from other vendors.

            Bowing to his father’s wish, Bhau Chitale sought a partner and opened a shop at ……… in Mumbai, somewhere in 1944. The quality of the products sold by the shop soon had people patronizing it in good numbers. The business picked up.

            In a couple of years, destiny once again tested the mettle of the family, when the partner, witnessing good potential in this business, decided to end the partnership and go alone. Raghunath Chitale decided to quit Mumbai and came down to Pune, the next major town in Maharashtra even then and geographically, nearer to Bhilawadi. That year was 1946. In Pune, he started as a roadside milk vendor at Kunte Chawk in Jog Wada  in the heart of the city. He used to receive milk from Bhilawadi by railway very early in the morning and he had to transport it from railway station in bullock carts. He would also deliver milk to homes of the people. A chip off the old block, Bhau Chitale, like his father, was an industrious man and he took enormous amount of efforts to establish himself in his business in the new town. Sometime in 1950, he took up a proper shop. That shop, though renovated several times since, is still operational and is the headquarters of sorts, for Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale.


            In 1947 India became Independent. Naturally, there was a general euphoria of a newborn nation all over the country. Though partition of the country and the resultant Hindu-Muslim rift was a major setback for the Independent India, overall, there was hope and aspiration in the air.

            Things had started looking up for the Chitale family as well. Bhaskarrao Chit Read More

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Nobinkumar  02 August 2016

Proud of Chitale bandhu ; all the more proud as a fellow Punekar.Just goes to show that a value based business can last for several generations.

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