Sreekesh Kurup is Chief Executive Officer, Only Fresh and of Inventor Solutions, an IT solutions company. When one thinks of backward integration and the thing that comes to mind is mergers and acquisitions. Can you imagine that happening with a small-time food retailer run by Indian expats in Ajman With Only Fresh that’s exactly what happened.
Mr. Sreekesh, son of late K. Muraleedharan, who was a manager at the Kerala State Financial Enterprises and an advocate, and late C.A. Vijayalakshmi, a bank manager, grew up in Cherthala in Alappuzha district of Kerala, where backwaters, lake and the sea are not far from his house. He completed his Bachelor of Computer Applications from UIT Alappuzha and entered the computer sales and service business. He successfully developed the business and in 2017 launched the web design and digital marketing solutions business in the UAE. Mr. Sreekesh is the CEO of Inventor, an IT company providing web sites, mobile app, social media marketing and digital advertising.
Living in Ajman, the UAE, it was the search for freshly cut meat, fish and poultry products that led Mr. Sreekesh to identify a business opportunity in supplying these products. What started off as a supply of freshly cut beef/fish for a few friends around the UAE has today grown to become a food retailer selling fresh fish poultry and meat as well as fresh vegetables to Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Um Al Quwain. Mr.Sreekesh had backed up with initial funding, managerial input and advice from Mr,Geevarghese Philip, a retired Central Government employee who was in Ajman when the venture was in its initial stages. He is a godfather figure for Mr. Sreekesh and also a silent partner who gives all financial advice even though he had returned to Kerala. The small company also developed its own farms in UAE to keep a steady supply of just a little over 30 varieties of food items.
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Even though Only Fresh had started in 2017, it was during Covid pandemic in 2020 that the demand for fresh fish and meat made Only Fresh the talk of the town. With little advertising except for the word of mouth one, the demand for Only Fresh supplies increased so much that the stocks were over by the time it reaches their outlet. The secret may lie in the company’s motto of supplying only freshly cut customized items pre-ordered or booked.
Even as fish is bought at the auction in any of the local fish landing centers in UAE, message is sent out in the Whatsapp groups or stock updated in their online portal (website/mobile App) to customers and before they know it, the stock is over. Excellence Global FZC LLC 233Mr. Sreekesh and his partners grew up tasting fresh fish and meat back home in Kerala and they know exactly how fresh the product is by instinct. The range of products available on Only Fresh is fresh fish, fresh mutton, fresh beef, and all other varieties of meat, fresh poultry, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. None of the products available in the supermarket and hypermarkets in the UAE can beat the freshness of the ones supplied by Only Fresh.
Only Fresh provides customized cutting and cleaning of all fresh produce orders from even as per customers request will do the washing and the only thing the customer needs to do cooking, recently Only Fresh started precut Veg Mix / marinated fish/poultry/meat (ready to cook). The retailer is planning to start supplying special recipes of marinated items. The website of Only Fresh is updated late at night and by 10am the next day for the benefit of the customer. All these services are provided with the help of only 17 staff members, keeping the overheads low. As the business grew over the years, the retailer had to shift to bigger spaces to accommodate the growing menu and staff too.
Only Fresh is also planning to open a restaurant to provide authentic Kerala fish and meat dishes
(Product from its own farm) for the discerning customers in the UAE, at a time when Middle Eastern dishes such as Al Fam and Mandi, and grills are being dished out by food joints in every nook and cranny of Kerala.