By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
The company’s owner Naricha Kulnanunth said in an interview with The Nation that it was negotiating with SME Bank on the plan, under which the bank would hold a 45-per-cent stake in the JV. The aim is to expand Fruit House’s production capacity from 350 tonnes a year to 1,000 tonnes within three years. The company needs Bt30 million in funding to expand its production capacity.
“We do not want a heavy debt burden, so we have written up our business plan and asked for SME Bank to hold up to a 45-per-cent stake in our company. This would provide enough capital to support our business expansion while keeping our debts low,” said Naricha, 55. Naricha and her husband Jirateep Patamayothin established Fruit House (Thailand) Co in 2001 to market dried fruits such as strawberry, pineapple, and longan that maintained their natural of colour and flavour.
She said it took her more than three years to set up the company. Once she did so, the company presented its products at a fair held by Chiang Mai University in 2001. They received positive feedback and sold out, netting about Bt100,000.
After the fair, she also sold the company’s products at coffee houses and food shops, again getting positive feedback and generating revenue of between Bt100,000 and Bt200,000 per month.
The management of Chiang Rai International Airport then asked Fruit House to open a shop at the airport.
“Our target customers are tourists, both locals and foreigners. As a result, we decided to open our first shop at Chiang Rai International Airport under the brand Baan Pollamai, which means Fruit House,” she said.
After opening the shop, the company began to export its products when some of its customers from mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia expressed interest.
The company also began distributing its products at The Emporium, Siam Paragon, and the EmQuartier after their operators saw the Fruit House display at the Thailand International Food Exhibition (THAIFEX) in 2003.
After this initial success, the company now produces 350 tonnes of dry fruits a year, half for export.
“The key to our business success is the quality of our products, which promote themselves through our customers by word of mouth. We select all of the products ourselves and also have quality control throughout the process from our manufacturing plant to delivery to our customers,” Naricha said.