Meet the Mumbai family that built a Rs 25 Cr business by bringing German luxury kitchen brands to India

In 1998, while visiting Japan, Hamendra and Rati Sharma would walk to the train station every day and see a store by Poggenpohl, a leading German kitchen brand.

Captivated by the luxurious designs on display, inspired the couple to start a business that would bring luxury and modular kitchens to India.

The duo made this dream a reality in 1998 by starting SIS Imports in Mumbai, bringing Poggenpohl to the Indian market. In 2015, the business was rebranded to Plusch, and is responsible for introducing several German luxury kitchen, wardrobe and furniture brands to India.

Their daughter Sukriti Sharma, who is a partner at Plusch, tells SMBStory, “Not many people believed in my parents’ dream because no one felt there was a market for luxury kitchens [in India]. But we pioneered the movement and brought brands like Poggenpohl, Eggersmann, and Beckermann for kitchens; Interluebke and Schmalenbach for wardrobes; and COR, Draenert, and Walter Knoll for furniture.”

She claims that Plusch is presently raking in an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore, and has 80 employees across India.

Enduring a difficult start

Originally from Kanpur, both Hamendra and Rati grew up in families that dealt in the manufacturing business. While Hamendra’s father was in the steel business, Rati’s father worked in the plywood industry.

To start SIS Imports, the couple got their initial investment from their families and took up a small kitchen design store in Mumbai on rent, and imported the kitchen displays and appliances for Rs 25 lakh.

At a time when luxury kitchens were almost unheard of in India, it was unsurprising that not everyone took kindly to the business.

“People would enter the showroom in Mumbai and hurl abuse at my parents for selling a kitchen as expensive as a house in the city,” says Sukriti.

The entrepreneurs also faced challenges in getting customs clearances for the imports. Educating potential premium buyers about the feasibility and advantages of using a luxury modular kitchen made in Germany was an uphill battle as well.

As a result, it took the business six months to make its first sale. Since then, there has been no looking back as word-of-mouth brought more customers to their doorstep, helping them grow.

family business

Hamendra Sharma (left), Sukriti Sharma (centre) and Rati Sharma (right)

Joining the family business

Sukriti became involved in the business when she was just 18-years-old.

“I was studying at King’s College in London, where I interned with Poggenpohl. During my summer holidays, I would work with my parents and assist in training employees on the shop floor,” she says.

After her graduation, she came back to India to formally join the business. Setting up a showroom in Hyderabad, she spearheaded the rebranding of the organisation from SIS Imports to Plusch.

According to her, rebranding the business to a German-sounding name complemented its drive to bring more German brands to India.

“Our clients were happy with the product quality of the luxury kitchens and started requesting us

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Gatwick knifeman gets suspended sentence after bringing two huge kitchen knives

A knifeman has been given a suspended sentence after brandishing two huge kitchen knives at Gatwick Airport.

Adam Russell, 32, told a neighbour he had planned a ‘massacre’ at the airport and wanted ‘to kill them all’.

Russell, who suffers from schizophrenia, was in the midst of a relapse in his mental illness when he took a bus to Gatwick in the early hours of June 3, 2019.

He was armed with two 10-inch blades, a court heard, and nearly 200 people were evacuated from in the South Terminal as Russell headed towards the international departure lounge.

Armed police arrived two minutes after security staff pressed the panic button and officers tasered Russell before arresting him. 

Adam Russell (pictured with two large kitchen knives), 32, told a neighbour he had planned a 'massacre' at Gatwick Airport and wanted 'to kill them all'

Adam Russell (pictured with two large kitchen knives), 32, told a neighbour he had planned a ‘massacre’ at Gatwick Airport and wanted ‘to kill them all’

Russell, from Crawley in West Sussex, pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article and affray. He appeared at Lewes Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutor Rachel Beckett said Russell was seen by one of his neighbours about 1.30am while they both waited for a bus.

She told the court: ‘The defendant said he was going for a massacre at Gatwick.

‘He later said he was going to kill them all.’

Russell arrived at the airport and was seen walking into the arrivals hall, carrying a knife in each hand.

One witness said the defendant was ‘walking with purpose in his stride’ and had ‘an emotionless glazed over look in his face’.

Russell (pictured), who suffers from schizophrenia, was in the midst of a relapse in his mental illness when he took a bus to Gatwick in the early hours of June 3, 2019

Russell (pictured), who suffers from schizophrenia, was in the midst of a relapse in his mental illness when he took a bus to Gatwick in the early hours of June 3, 2019

Another said Russell looked ‘like he was on a mission’.

As onlookers realised the danger they started shouting and running, with security staff ushering people away.

Russell was heard shouting ‘come on then’ as he continued to hold the knives.

The prosecutor added: ‘(A) security officer said she was so scared when she saw the defendant she was scared he was about to start stabbing everyone.

‘She thought “this is it, this is a terrorist attack”.’

Staff pressed the panic button at 1.54am and armed police arrived in the area at 1.55am.

Officers armed with a carbine and handguns found the defendant and shouted at him to show them his hands.

Armed officers tasered Russell before arresting him after he walked through Gatwick Airport's security area with two large knives

Armed officers tasered Russell before arresting him after he walked through Gatwick Airport’s security area with two large knives

They formed the view that he was ‘aggressive and an immediate danger’ and tasered him in the chest.

After he was apprehended, he told officers that he suffered from schizophrenia.

The court heard that a week before the Gatwick incident he had told ambulance staff that voices in his head were telling him to blow up the airport.

Defence barrister Fiona Clegg said: ‘What is very clear is that in the proceeding weeks to the incident that his mental health was deteriorating significantly.

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Smashing Grapes Kitchen + Wine Bar Opens Its Doors Bringing Coastal California Cuisine to Annapolis

The upscale kitchen + wine bar will provide guests with a world-class wine experience in a comfortable, inviting Cali-Chic atmosphere

Smashing Grapes Kitchen + Wine Bar Opens Today in Annapolis

The new restaurant is bringing an upscale dining experience and wine-centric menu to the greater Annapolis area.
The new restaurant is bringing an upscale dining experience and wine-centric menu to the greater Annapolis area.
The new restaurant is bringing an upscale dining experience and wine-centric menu to the greater Annapolis area.

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Smashing Grapes, an upscale, coastal California inspired kitchen and wine bar has opened its doors in the charming city of Annapolis, which will provide locals and visitors with a world-class wine and dining experience.

This wine country inspired restaurant will offer a Cali-chic experience serving up a fusion of Mediterranean and California Coastal cuisine and more than 350 world-class wines any palate can enjoy. The new restaurant brings the spirit of Napa Valley to the Mid-Atlantic in a sophisticated, comfortable and inviting setting.

“Here at Smashing Grapes Kitchen & Bar, we wanted to bring an idyllic West Coast-styled experience to the region and offer our guests a wine list and menu that is thoughtful and provides a tailored and memorable experience,” said James King, Smashing Grapes’ restaurateur. “When guests visit Smashing Grapes they will get a first-class experience with a sommelier-crafted wine list, innovative craft cocktails and a menu that brings new flavors to the Annapolis food scene.”

Smashing Grapes boasts an expansive wine lists of bold reds and crisp and tangy whites from Spain, Argentina, Germany, California and beyond. In addition to its broad wine list, Smashing Grapes’ seasoned chef, Matthew Newland, crafted a menu highlighting Coastal California inspired dishes with sustainably sourced, unique ingredients. Menu options include the grilled avocado tacos made with corn tortillas, topped with Fresno chili dressing and the California burger featuring a vegan patty, smashed avocado, lettuce, tomato, and grilled corn salsa.

The distinct wine tasting experience offered at the restaurant transports guests to wine country without ever having left the Mid-Atlantic. Guests will be able to discover the background and history of the wine of their choice from Smashing Grapes’ wine experts who are available to elevate the guest experience.

The restaurant’s elegant aesthetic is trimmed with comfy, thoughtful finishes throughout. Smashing Grapes can accommodate 375 guests within the main dining room, private and outdoor dining spaces, bar and lounge areas. As Smashing Grapes opens its doors, the restaurant will be offering a variety of options for its guests during the Covid-19 pandemic including, spacious in-restaurant dining and take out options. The restaurant will be following local policies and regulations for the safety of its staff and guests. Reservations can be made in advance and private dining spaces is available for special occasions including, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, birthday parties, or company happy hours.

To learn more, visit www.smashinggrapes.com. Get social with Smashing Grapes on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sgkitchenwinebar or www.instagram.com/smashing_grapes on Instagram, using the handle @Smashing_Grapes.

About Smashing Grapes Kitchen + Wine Bar
Smashing Grapes Kitchen + Wine

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Virtual garden bringing hope in COVID-19 | The Canberra Times

news, health

Lifeline plans to send a powerful message to those struggling during the pandemic inviting them to visit a virtual garden and plant a message of hope. Lifeline Australia chairman John Brogden says coronavirus restrictions have heightened the need to demonstrate support and provide a safe space for those affected by suicide to mourn and reflect. More than 3000 Australians die from suicide every year, with each life lost leaving families, friends, colleagues and communities devastated, he says. World Suicide Prevention Day is on Thursday – a day when Lifeline brings communities together through its Out of the Shadows events. Community walks take place at sunrise to mourn loved ones lost to suicide and reduce the stigma by bringing suicide into the light. However, this year physical distancing restrictions means Lifeline is encouraging Australians to visit a virtual reflective garden to plant a flower and leave a message of remembrance or support, to show those who are struggling that they are not alone. “The COVID-19 restrictions are exacerbating isolation, there are many left to grieve or struggle with their thoughts alone,” Mr Brogden said. “The things we used to keep busy with can often no longer be done. Many of our opportunities for connecting with others have been removed.” “So this year, we are calling on every Australian to make this garden bloom and help Lifeline send the clearest signal yet to those who are struggling that they are not alone.” To visit the virtual garden, go to outoftheshadows.org.au. People are also invited to safely hold private reflective sunrise walks to observe in accordance with COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions. Lifeline 13 11 14 beyondblue 1300 22 4636 Australian Associated Press

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