From farming to managing a supermarket

Manoj Kumar at his desk at Pak & Save supermarket. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

While toiling the land as a young lad on the slopes of the Sigatoka Valley, Manoj Kumar didn’t imagine that one day he will be managing a supermarket in the busy town of Nausori.

From muddy hands and gumboots to the comfort of a padded office chair behind a desk inside the busy Pak & Save supermarket, life has been great for the 46-year-old.

Being raised from a humble farming community, Mr Kumar has learned the importance of making sacrifices.

“My father comes from a family of farmers who worked hard to make ends meet and he had a truck which he used to deliver vegetables and fruits on straight to the market.

“I quickly followed my father’s footstep in assisting him with farming work until we decided to move to Lautoka. When we moved to Lautoka my father still had the farm so we decided to pay for a table at the market which allowed us to sell our produce instead of selling it to vendors.

“My father and I worked well together with the market business until I decided to work at a restaurant to just broaden my knowledge, particularly on cooking Chinese dishes.

“I learned Chinese cooking and became a cook at the restaurant. It was something I was passionate about because it allowed me to be creative in making a dish.”

After Mr Kumar worked as a cook he later applied for work as a supervisor in a packaging section of a company.

He didn’t lose sight of what his father taught him about working hard and he diligently learned the ropes of jobs he had applied for.

“Working in a supermarket started when I applied for a supervisor’s position with Rajendra’s Foodtown Supermarket in Lautoka. Like many people, Mr Kumar was always looking for better opportunities that can help him grow as a person.

“From working in a supermarket in Lautoka I was able to get a transfer to Nausori. Now here I’m working for Pak & Save supermarket assisting customers and staff every day and making work flow with no disruptions.

“Working here I was promoted from supervisor to manager and it’s such a good feeling looking back at where you started and seeing what I’ve achieved.

“I’ve learned a lot from the different types of occupation I’ve had over the years because it has taught me valuable lessons that has helped me grow as a person.”

He said the best part of his job was being able to assist customers every day whether it was with their groceries or queries about the services they provided.

“Quality customer service is important to us and we make sure that customers are treated right by staff when they come to shop here.” He said with his job he was able to provide for his family and also put his three children through school.

“Before it was just me working, but now I have my children assisting at home with the daily expenses and I’m grateful for that,” he said.

Most days you can find Mr Kumar standing beside the Pak & Save supermarket cashiers assisting customers with a smile.

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