Abans – the legacy that started from a tiny corner store and evolved into a renowned Sri Lankan conglomerate
Abans Group is one of the largest home grown conglomerates in Sri Lanka, having modest origins as a tiny corner store, and then gradually evolving into a diversified organisation spanning several industry sectors; such as retail, services, manufacturing, logistics and real estate.
Now it is one of the most renowned and respected brand names that has captured massive market shares, a solid customer base and the hearts of many Sri Lankans; expanded into more segments, and strategically adopted the fast-paced digitalisation process to further strengthen their competitive stance.
This inspiring success story began way back in the early seventies. At that time, Aban Pestonjee – a young homemaker with three small children – found it quite a severe challenge to balance all her household tasks and take care of her family at the same time. Pestonjee was sparked by a vision of finding a solution to help reduce the burdens of housewives across the country, and thus, she set forth on an arduous yet uplifting journey.
Since it was the time of the closed economy, Pestonjee visited auctions held at embassies by expatriates and diplomats leaving the country, and purchased appliances to be sold and kept back for spare parts.
Implementing this extremely simple business model worked really well, as she provided a guarantee for all the products she sold, and offered customers the service of repairing their appliances in the case of any breakdown. Having begun her business in her home (with a makeshift workshop set up in the garage), later she founded a small corner store in Bambalapitiya.
When the open economy conversion took place, Pestonjee rethought her strategy to tackle the new obstacle, as housewives were able to access imported goods freely and the demand for her second hand products declined.
She approached the principals of the brands in demand by writing to them consistently; until Electrolux responded to her request and signed on to become her first global brand available for sale in Sri Lanka via the Abans store. Soon, many other global brands such as Belling, Hoover, and South Korean electronics giant, LG (formerly Gold Star), came on board to partner with her and lead to the flourishing of the business in leaps and bounds.
In time, Pestonjee’s three children – Dr. Saroshi Dubash, Behman Pestonjee and Rusi Pestonjee – joined her business after completing their studies overseas and returning to the country. The expansion then began into more segments such as Environmental Services, Automobiles, Logistics and Restaurants.
The endless support and dedication of the children was instrumental in the rapid progression of the business expansion. The single store grew to over 750 stores and dedicated service centres across Sri Lanka with the formation of Abans Group of Companies.
Now, Abans Group boasts a portfolio of esteemed international brands such as LG, Apple, JBL, ELBA, HP, Acer, Lenovo, Haier, Vivo, OPPO, Hyundai, Under Armour, HUGO BOSS, Mitsubishi, Philips, Mistral, Panasonic, TOTO, Whirlpool, Premier, Black & Decker, Toshiba, Sanford, Hero, Havells, Jaipan, Meyer, Pyrex, CorningWare, Corelle, Titan and Skechers. A wide range of locally manufactured products are also readily available under the Abans brand name, featuring quality, versatility and affordability for customers. This year has also added prestigious brands such as Lego, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price, with more brands to come in the near future.
Abans Group has established itself as the leading and trusted retail, electronics and consumer conglomerate in Sri Lanka. Combining age-old ethics and principles, whilst adapting digitalised solutions, the company is all set to pursue greater heights and achievements in the future.
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