ScaleUp Success: Nupur Abbas of Asian Traditions

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Every business goes through transitional periods, from setting up and establishing clientele, to breaking even and hopefully growing. To move through each step takes active participation on the owner’s behalf.

Or, as local business owner Nupur Abbas puts it, “You can’t be sitting in a shell and expect that customers will come to you. You have to make connections. You have to build those relationships.”

Connecting with a network of fellow small business owners gave Abbas a new vision for her gift store Asian Traditions, located inside Worthington Mall. Since her engagement with the local business community, she’s rerouted her plan for Asian Traditions, which will change the store’s name and niche.

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“We are wanting to change the name because we listen to our consumers,” said Abbas, who runs the store with her husband Syed Abbas, owner of Tandoori Grill and Apna Bazaar, both on Bethel Road. “It’s not about what we like; it’s about what consumers want.”

Abbas shared that, because of the name, shoppers tend to think of Asian Traditions as an “Oriental” store. She decided that if they want to broaden their customer base, a name change is necessary. She’ll adjust her inventory as well, planning to offer items made in the U.S., along with the unique collection of gifts she’s curated from countries along what was once the Silk Road.

Goods with spiritual meaning will be prioritized as well, including elephants, symbolizing good fortune; singing bowls, used for healing and meditation; as well as incense and meditation malas, among others. And, while she currently hosts meditation groups every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., she’d like to add in yoga, potentially partnering with a locally established studio.

To reflect this change of focus, Abbas imagines a store name that’s an expression of bliss.

“The world is in chaos, kind of, and there’s a lot of stress out there,” she said. “So, we want to bring that energy and peace in our store, where people feel good coming in.”

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To seek help through this transition, Abbas enrolled in the Entrepreneur Exchange program. At each class is a network of business experts, there to coach her through the obstacles. She consults with them on financing, as well as on how to market herself and her business to her target audience.

“The most important thing to me is to get our name out there — get people to come in, get people in the door,” Abbas said. “Constant movement of traffic is my primary, primary goal.”

Moving from Bethel Road, where Asian Traditions first opened in 2015, was the first step in increasing that foot traffic. Abbas describes her business as better suited for a place where people intend to spend time and get some serious shopping done.

Presently, Worthington Mall establishments like Talbots and Panera are the “destination” places, Abbas said. With the changes she has planned, she hopes Asian Traditions (new name to be decided) will join them.

Asian Traditions will announce their name change with a celebratory summer open house on June 21.

For more information, visit asiantraditionsinc.com.

To take the next step in scaling up your business, visit YourManagementTeam.com/EE to apply and learn more about the Entrepreneur Exchange Program, funded by SBA ScaleUp America.

All photos by Lauren Sega.

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YMT Consultants is a microbusiness consulting and training firm providing monthly consulting and business development. We help microbusiness owners change their mindset, resulting in greater control of their business, increased revenue and bottom-line, and a strategic growth plan to achieve their “big-picture” vision for them and their business.