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For the instant brigade

The Ranch at Spencer Plaza is the one-stop-shop for those in a hurry


"CEREALS, OATS, raisins, bran, wheat, honey, hi-fibre, low fibre... you name it, we have it," says Reshma Kriplani, as she walks down the well-stocked aisles of `Ranch', a department store that she and her husband have just opened in Spencer Plaza. The store sources products from all over the world, primarily Jakarta, Bangkok, Malaysia and Dubai, because "Well... They're the most sought products. They're cheap and there's a wide variety."

"Black and button mushrooms, pumpkin pasta, spinach pasta, Tabasco, Indian, Italian, Chinese and Continental sauces," she continues, picking up speed as she whizzes past aisle after aisle. "We cater to vegetarians too, so there's mock chicken, mock duck, stir fry: all made of Soya. There are Thai curry pastes: green curry, yellow curry, and red curry. We have seasonings: onion and chive, oregano, basil. Prawn crackers. Biscuits from Jakarta and Dubai. And Candy: Marshmallows filled with jam," she says. Reshma and her husband, Manish Kriplani, opened the store after ten years in the travel business, because, one day, "We suddenly thought, let's branch out. And this is such a nice place to start."

"There's great potential in Chennai," says Manish, "A lot of these products might already be available here, but are difficult to find because they are not displayed and marketed properly... Maybe you find them in gullies or have a dealer who brings them home. Either way, you miss out on the joy of shopping."

Right now Ranch stocks about 8000 products. And the Kriplanis plan to open the next Ranch in Adyar. "We have big plans," says Manish. "We eventually want to be present all over India. This is just to test the market, to experiment with the city's taste buds. To see what's moving and what's not." Judging by the cries of joy from various instant mix maestros ambling between the vast collection of masalas, pastes and tinned foods, the Ranch is likely to become a one-stop shop for all curry-in-a-hurry types: which, coming to think of it, is pretty good news for burgeoning `I've-no-time-to-cook' Chennai.

SHONALI MUTHALALY

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