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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A stone house built in the 1940s is now Colleyville’s newest neighborhood restaurant

A new spot is opening in Colleyville this week: Stone House Restaurant is serving up fresh-food-focused dinners. The new spot, which opened Monday, sits inside a 1940s stone house in Colleyville — hence the name.

Co-owners and Colleyville residents Paul and Lisa Pardo thought they had retired from the restaurant business before opening Stone House. Previously, they owned Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar in Southlake.

However, every time they drove by the stone house in Colleyville, Lisa said they were inspired.

“To us, it just kept saying ‘restaurant,'” she said.

A storm brews south east of Rooftop Cinema Club drive-in off Central Expressway in Dallas, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Catching a drive-in movie is one of our socially distanced date ideas.

And so they moved to open a restaurant and they’ve brought in two partners: a chef and general manager, both with previous careers at Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group.

Chef Thomas Dritsas was the corporate executive chef at Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group for more than 20 years, according to the restaurant’s website. Lisa Pardo said that the chef’s focus for the Stone House Restaurant menu has been on fresh food and ingredients.

Greg Kalina was formerly general manager for Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group in Fort Worth. Now, he’s part of the Stone House team as a partner and general manager.

Opening a restaurant in a pandemic proved a “blessing,” and Lisa said it gave them more time to prepare and the ability to move at a slower, more relaxed pace in the process.

With the menu focused on fresh fixings, Lisa brought attention to the variety of what they call “shareables,” with items like queso, hummus, oysters, shrimp, biscuits and more.

Their menu boasts a variety of steaks and chops, from a hand-cut filet mignon to lamb sirloin, and other entrees like shrimp and grits and “roasted 7 spice chicken.”

Lisa noted that one of their signature cocktails, The Boulevard, is named for the street the restaurant sits on: Colleyville Boulevard. She called it a pineapple martini and said it’s “absolutely delicious.”

Stone House Restaurant serves dinner Monday through Saturday at 5201 Colleyville Blvd. in Colleyville. You can reach them at 817-576-2629 or 817-576-2626.

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1920s complex built to house orphans offers a taste of Spain — in the middle of Marrero | Home/Garden

Some buildings are eye-catching because they’re so grand. Others are eye-catching because they’re unique. Still others stand out simply because they feel somehow out of place.

Reader Brian Gros recently came across one that fits all three of those descriptions.

“Can you tell us about the white Italian villa on Barataria Boulevard in Marrero?,” Gros recently wrote.

Architecturally speaking, it’s Spanish, not Italian — but if you’ve seen the complex about which Gros writes, chances are you remember it.

Covering an estimated 10 acres and including several buildings in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, it looks like the sort of mission complex you’d come across in San Antonio or a Clint Eastwood movie.

It is Hope Haven, founded in 1916 as an industrial cooperative farm by the Rev. Peter Wynhoven to serve as a home, school and source of practical training for orphaned boys who had aged out of the system.



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SUSAN POAG / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Bill Curtis and Craig Guillory of Duff Waterproofing worked their way top to bottom pressure washing the Chapel of St. John Bosco on the Hope Haven campus in Marrero Tuesday, September 13, 2011. The ornate chapel was built in 1941. The pressure washing is part of the ongoing renovation of the buildings on the historic campus, one of which currently houses Cafe Hope, a non-profit restaurant program which trains young adults in both the kitchen and dining room skills.




“The orphan asylums can care for these boys only until they are 12 years of age, and that is too young for them to be thrown on their own resources,” Wynhoven told The Times-Picayune. “It seemed to me that they could be taken away from the evil influences of the city, taught some useful trade, given proper guidance and be self-supporting at the same time.”

Early on, Wynhoven’s “school farm,” as he called it, was simply a dream, but it was one that enjoyed wide community support. Over the years, newspaper reports covered a litany of fundraisers to benefit it, from movies and dances to vaudeville shows. There were at various points a euchre and lotto party, a newsboy parade, an auto race and — a true novelty at the time — an air show, all to will Hope Haven into reality.

Once that seed money was secured, the next order of business was to find a suitable site. Wynhoven found it in a stretch “overgrown wilderness” just a few miles outside the city. With a number of dairy farmers and other craftsmen summoned from Wynhoven’s native Holland to offer their expertise, the project was humming along by 1921. By then, some 250 acres had been cleared for cultivation of crops, as well as for the raising of pigs, sheep and dairy cows. A handful of humble, utilitarian buildings went up to house its young farmers.



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Hope Haven in Marrero. 2000 file photo BY SUSAN POAG 




The ultimate dream, though, was to build a proper school on the

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Love Island’s Laura Whitmore and Iain Stirling reveal they’ve built a PUB in their back garden

They kept fans entertained over the summer, when they shared snaps of videos of their fun-filled times at home together during the COVID-19 lockdown.

And Laura Whitmore and her fiancé Iain Stirling have revealed that they’ve made their home all the more entertaining, as they’ve built a pub in their back garden.

Love Island host Laura, 35, took to Instagram on Saturday to share a snapshot of herself enjoying drinks with Iain, 32, and a small group of friends.

Home comforts: Laura Whitmore and her fiancé Iain Stirling have revealed that they've made their home all the more entertaining, as they've built a pub in their back garden

Home comforts: Laura Whitmore and her fiancé Iain Stirling have revealed that they’ve made their home all the more entertaining, as they’ve built a pub in their back garden

Wearing a striped sweater, the blonde beauty was seen cuddling her beloved pet pooch as the group enjoyed drinks and snacks.

Love Island narrator Iain took the snap, which showed their pals giving the thumbs up as they sat by the bar, which included a Guinness tap, glasses and bottle of liquor.

Captioning the image, Laura partially quoted classic sitcom Cheers, as she wrote: ‘Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came… The Snug EST 2020.’

Snug: The Irish broadcaster also geotagged the new bar's location as The Snug, while she shared another snap showing that the name had been placed above the double door entrance

Snug: The Irish broadcaster also geotagged the new bar’s location as The Snug, while she shared another snap showing that the name had been placed above the double door entrance

The Irish broadcaster also geotagged the new bar’s location as The Snug, while she shared another snap showing that the name had been placed above the double door entrance to the construction, which included bar stools.   

Laura has much to celebrate, as she’s set to begin filming Celebrity Juice alongside Emily Atack next week, after they were announced as new team captains. 

The stars joined show host Keith Lemon, real name Leigh Francis, for a celebratory night out on Thursday after they their new roles were publicly announced. 

The trio were also joined by Laura’s fiancé Iain, who was pictured arriving at the venue with footballer Robbie Keane after working together on Soccer Aid. 

Show: Laura has much to celebrate, as she's set to begin filming Celebrity Juice with Emily Atack next week, after they were announced as new team captains. Pictured with Keith Lemon

Show: Laura has much to celebrate, as she’s set to begin filming Celebrity Juice with Emily Atack next week, after they were announced as new team captains. Pictured with Keith Lemon 

Celebrate: Keith, real name Leigh Francis, documented their celebratory drinks on Instagram

Celebrate: Keith, real name Leigh Francis, documented their celebratory drinks on Instagram 

The trio appeared in great spirits after it was announced that they would be making up the new team of Celebrity Juice.

Taking to Instagram, Laura, Emily and Keith documented their night out where they enjoyed celebratory Champagne and margarita cocktails.

Although Emily joked on Friday morning that she was feeling hungover as she shared a video of herself sipping water with a GIF of a cocktail with a red X next to it. 

It was recently announced that Emily and Laura would be Holly Willouhgby’s replacements on Celebrity Juice, four months after she left her 12-year stint. 

Giddy: Presenter Laura and actress Emily appeared giddy in one fun video shared by Keith

Giddy: Presenter Laura and actress Emily appeared giddy in one fun video shared by Keith 

Cheers! Laura toasted her flute of Champagne

Fun: She took a swig as she celebrated the news

Cheers! Laura toasted her flute of Champagne and took

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L.A. urban farmer built an edible garden on concrete patio

This is the latest in a new series we call Plant PPL, where we interview people of color in the plant world. If you have any suggestions for PPL to include in our series, tag us on Instagram @latimesplants.

Ken Sparks is a sentimental gardener.

The Ohio native’s East L.A. garden is filled with more than 50 types of fruit trees and plants, some of which pay homage to his family and reflect the diversity of his hometown of Twinsburg.

“I have little pieces of home in my garden,” said Sparks, 37, as he identified water lilies and an heirloom beefsteak begonia from his grandmother’s garden. “One of the things that keep me grounded is my garden. It reminds me of my family, and of Ohio.”

He grew up gardening alongside his grandmother. When she died in July, he planted peach, apple, plum and nectarine trees in her honor.

His terraced backyard is primarily concrete, but he has managed to transform the hardscape into something alive and soft with chickens, a butterfly garden and a surplus of organic vegetables that he has planted in raised beds installed on top of concrete.

In addition to his mini fruit orchard, he is growing corn and carrots; chard and squash; beans and tomatoes. African blue basil and unusual mints — pineapple and strawberry — occupy the bees. As an experiment, he is growing pineapple in a wine casket. And in front, monarch butterflies flock to the parking strip that he removed and replanted with milkweed, sunflowers, butterfly bush and lavender.

Over the years, he has revitalized community gardens in Illinois, Ohio and Watts. “It is imperative that communities are provided with gardening resources, holistic programs and activities,” he said.

So when his work as a musician and a production coordinator stalled, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sparks started Farmer Ken Official on Instagram and pivoted to garden consulting.

Following Blackout Tuesday, and the recent emphasis on Black-owned businesses, his account went from 1,500 followers to 7,000 (he now has more than 12,000).

“A lot of people are reaching out to me for edible gardening advice,” Sparks said. “My goal is to help others start their gardens and expose the community to organic gardening and healthy cooking and eating.”

Why did you start your Instagram account?

I initially started my Instagram account last fall to share my plant and garden journey and connect with other gardeners.

What are your favorite plants?

My favorite plant is the sunflower. They are majestic, hardy, tall and come in a variety of colors. There are many colors other than the traditional yellow ones. I love the multibranched ones because they bloom over an extended period of time. Here in L.A., we

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