By Isaac Blessings
If you have been to Thika town chances are that you have seen or shopped at Society Store Supermarkets. This supermarket chain has grown to have seven branches spread across the country. However little is known about the man behind this successful business venture.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Trushar Khetia – the 37 year old founder and owner of Society Stores supermarkets and Tria Group of Companies.
Trushar Khetia Background
Trushar Khetia was born on 29th November 1986 in Kitale, in the Trans Nzoia county of Kenya. He studied at a local elementary school before transferring to Oshwal High School in Nairobi for his O-level and A-level studies.
In 2004 at the age of 17, he was admitted at Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management specializing in marketing.
He later joined Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2018 where he pursued commerce.
After graduating from Manchester Business School, Trushar came back to Kenya in 2005 and got employed at 24 Self Video company where he worked for three months as a sales and marketing representative.
He later left and became a part time DJ at Pavement Club in Nairobi before he landed a job at Securex Agencies in November 2006 where he worked as a Marketing manager.
He worked there for six months before joining Dialogue Direct Fundraising in May 2007 as a Dialoguer (Face-to-face Fundraiser).
He later left and joined UK based company -Procter & Gamble in December 2008 as a National Account Manager a position he held for 2 years and 7 months.
Finally, in June 2011 he decided to come back home to Kitale, Kenya in order to join his relatives in running Khetias Supermarket – a family owned business venture.
Trushar worked in the family business as a Commercial Team Leader for a year and nine months before calling it quits after realizing that he couldn’t grow and that his potential was limited by certain members of the family. He resigned and left for Nairobi to start his entrepreneurial journey.
Starting Tria Group of Companies
After landing in Nairobi, Trushar launched Tria Transit Media as the first ever venture of Tria Group. Tria transit Media is a unique and innovative form of advertising via buses where your brand is always on the move.
Tria provides unique branding opportunities such as bus and matatu media, bus shelters, airline media, mall media, experiential and printing division.
“Kenyan Public transport is associated with traffic, congestion and chaos. It is out of this that I saw the opportunity to create an industry where everyone shares in the revenue. Clients get exposure for their brands, the bus companies and owners get a share of the advertising revenue, the bus driver/conductors also get rewarded and the commuters get information via our ads and shelter and security via the bus shelters we built in areas where none existed,” Trushar revealed.
Tria Transit Media
Tria Transit Media is currently worth over Ksh 200 million in the Kenyan markets and over Ksh 50 million in the Tanzanian market.
In Kenya, the company has signed up over 20 bus companies with access to over 10,000 buses and over 3 million commuters every single day.
The company has also built over 30 bus shelters in the city, signed up 20 shopping malls in the country and executed transit/OOH campaigns for companies such as Dell, HP, Epson, Coca-Cola, KFC, GSK, Unilever, P and G, Lenovo, Reckitt Benckiser, Western Union, Amazon, Konica, Canon and Uber.
Tria has also partnered with Google for the launch, activation and media of their cashless NFC based commuter fare solution called Bebapay across over 200 buses in Kenya.
It also launched the first ever in-flight media and activation campaign for Safaricom on Jambojet airlines. It was also behind the first of a kind fresh chewing gum sampling campaign inside the commuter buses with over 18,000 people sampled and over 500 Facebook likes within 4 sampling days.
In Tanzania the company has partnered with Precision Air – one of Tanzania’s major airlines and Konica Minolta Company who are their biggest client over there. The company later changed its name to Tria OOH.
Trushar also co-founded Bloom Wellness in October 2019. Bloom wellness is both an online and physical pharmacy. The chain of pharmacies are primarily situated within supermarkets and high footfall areas focused on retailing Pharmaceutical services, OTC, Wellness and beauty products.
The vision of the pharmacy is to be a chain of 50 pharmacies in 5 years that will address the Pharmaceutical supply chain issues the world is currently facing. One of their main goals is to launch Africa’s biggest e-pharmacy, health and wellness platform online by December 2022.
Society Stores Supermarket
In September 2014 while aged 27 years, Trushar Khetia bought his first Society Store Supermarket in Thika and fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a retail supermarket chain business.
He acquired the already running supermarket that sits in a 1,700 meters square at a total cost of Ksh 25 million money that he acquired from profits of Tria Media.
“It is one of the smartest deals I have ever done. The worth of the buyout, excluding stock, was about Ksh 25 million. I only had a half of that money which came from my profits at Tria Media. So I negotiated a deal that allowed me to pay the owners just half of what was required and spread the remaining amount over a couple of months. I put in just enough money to get the keys to the shop,” Trushar revealed while speaking to ‘howwemadeitinafrica.com’
The supermarket is now in Thika, Naivasha, Ruiru, Maua, Limuru, Meru and Mombasa.