With A Turnover Of ₹23 Cr, This Kolkata Couple Has Built An Ice Cream Empire From Scratch

by Sanjana Shenoy
With A Turnover Of ₹23 Cr, This Kolkata Couple Has Built An Ice Cream Empire From Scratch

When life knocks you hard, you get up, ten times stronger. And when it knocks you down harder, you get up, even stronger, but with a smile. This is perhaps the story of Anuvrat Pabrai and his wife, Tulika Pabrai, who emerged even stronger following the unfortunate shutdown of their 23-year-old ice cream brand Tulika’s, only to open Kolkata’s loved, Pabrai’s Fresh & Naturelle. 

The Pabrai’s Opened Tulika’s In 1985

Graduating fresh out of the Institute of Hotel Management Pusa New Delhi in 1978, Anuvrat Pabrai and his wife and college mate, Tulika Pabrai were qualified hoteliers. They had a dream to open their own ice cream parlour and introduce Kolkatans— who’d till then clutched tight to the bakes at Flurry’s and the local mishti— to the world of delicious ice creams. So, in 1985, the hotelier couple opened their own ice cream parlour on Russell Street named Tulika’s, after Anuvrat’s beloved wife, Tulika. 

In just a span of one year, Tulika’s witnessed magnificent success. From buying ice creams from Kwality’s they ventured into producing their own ice creams. For this, they bought Italian machines and expanded their business rapidly. Thanks to the swanky machinery, the Pabrai’s were able to manufacture a whopping 1.5 million litres of ice cream per year in 1998. 

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Financial Troubles Put An End To Tulika’s

Unfortunately in 2008, Tulika’s Ice cream P Ltd faced many financial troubles. With other competitors entering the ice cream market of the city coupled with union issues, Anuvrat and Tulika Pabrai shut down their beloved company in 2008. But all was not lost. The hotelier couple’s son, Kunal stepped in to elevate the family business. Leaving his well-paying job at Ernst & Young behind, he was instrumental in the rebirth of the ice cream brand, now Pabrai’s Fresh & Naturelle Ice creams.

Family Emerge Together To Open Pabrai’s Fresh & Naturelle Ice Creams

At Pabrai’s Fresh & Naturelle Ice creams, customers are assured of creamy, melt-in-the-mouth ice creams made of 100 per cent natural ingredients. Seasonal fruit flavours like Jamun, Leeche and Himsagar Mango tantalise the taste buds of customers. While, Kolkatans have a special place in their hearts for Nolen Gur Ice Cream, which encapsulates the famous Bengali sweet Nolen Gur into creamy ice cream. This flavour became so popular that it was even nominated as one of the 7 best sweet dishes in Asia.

The Kolkata-based ice cream parlour also has a sugar-free flavour for diabetics, a sorbet range and an upcoming ice cream range for vegans. The best part is that they don’t leave any lingering aftertaste. What started as an ice cream hub in Kolkata has today spread its delicacies across Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and even Indore.

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A Successful Ice Cream Parlour Which Has Expanded Across India

Despite facing a heartbreaking moment, where the ice cream wallas had to close their brainchild, Tulika’s, they emerged stronger and entered the ice cream game back together as a family. Today, apart from Anuvrat and Tulika, their sons,  Kunal Pabrai and Nishant Pabrai and their daughters-in-law, Anwesha Pabrai and Shilpa Pabrai are also part of the family business.

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From earning revenue of ₹7.8 crores in 2021-22 they are expected to earn ₹23 crores in 2022-23. By 2024, you can expect Pabrai’s to spread its wings across 75 stores and over 125 stores by 2025.

With a smile, the Pabrai’s are back and how! And this just proves that no matter how hard life knocks you, you can also emerge stronger, with a smile and even ice cream!

Cover Image Courtesy: Pabrai’s Fresh & Naturelle Ice Creams/ Facebook