Steering one of the nation’s leading automotive businesses… Caribbean Motor Spares CEO, Hardial Doobay, is a ‘Special Person’
By Rehanna Ramsay
Kaieteur News- According to the Oxford dictionary, an entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
Our ‘Special Person’ this week is no stranger to taking risks. Just about nine years ago, the now blooming entrepreneur decided to step out on a limb after spending a considerable amount of time in the banking industry, to start his own business.
Today that enterprise, Caribbean Motor Spares Guyana, is one of the nation’s leading dealers in automotive spare parts. The company is a supplier for all vehicle parts and a trusted distributor, wholesaler and retailer throughout the country.
Like most successful business people, its founder, Hardial Doobay, had envisioned changing the business landscape with his ideas.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Caribbean Motor Spares told Kaieteur News that this is something he wanted to do ever since he was a child growing up in Bartica, Region Seven.
He said that he developed a passion for automotive equipment by watching the workmen fix his parent’s cargo trucks.
“My parents, Sandra and Venod, had a fuel trucking business to supply fuel from Bartica to the interior and whenever the trucks needed servicing, I would sit and watch the men work on them. As I got older, I became more curious about the vehicles,” he revealed during an interview with this publication.
Despite being a focused businessman, at the age of 33, Doobay is married and the father of three children. He noted, however, that the road to successful entrepreneurship was not a straight path. He initially worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) for six years before launching Pandit and Sons Auto, which has since been renamed Caribbean Motor Spares Guyana.
Recently, Caribbean Motor Spares made headlines for expanding its reach. With a demand for its products and service, the company has opened a second location at Grove, East Bank Demerara. This is in addition to the company’s main branch located at Zeelugt Public Road, West Coast Demerara.
But, before Doobay could have established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the local automotive spares landscape, he was a just a young man with a dream.
FUELLING HIS PASSION
He recalled that his passion for automotive machinery, arts and the lot, developed while he was just a teenager growing up in Bartica, where his family is
“I always had been around vehicles and trucks. I remember I was always ready to assist the guys with fixing and cleaning the trucks from my family’s fuel trucking business. As soon as I got home from school, I would drop my school bag and head to the workshop. I was always eager to learn,” he said of his interest in motor vehicles.
The Caribbean Motor Spares CEO did not remain in Bartica for much longer. By the time he was 14 years old, his parents decided that he was showing enough promise to be enrolled at a city school.
He explained that they saw his potential and decided that Bartica could not offer him the kind of exposure he needed.
As a result, the teenage Doobay was sent to Georgetown to live with his aunt. While under the supervision of his aunt, he attended the School of the Nations – a private school.
He explained that the new school experience was very different from what he had at St Anthony’s Primary and the Bartica Secondary School. The latter institutions, he said, gave him the edge he needed to pursue higher learning and professional goals. Soon after completing his High School education, Doobay attended the University of Guyana.
By this time, he had secured his first job at Scotiabank and his two younger siblings – his brother Ajai and sister Vidya – had joined him in the city.
He said that it was while working at the bank that he etched out a plan to turn his dreams of owning and operating his own automotive business to a reality. During the six years that he worked at various levels at the bank, the then aspirant businessman harnessed the customer service skills he needed to successfully pilot his own business.
“While working in the banking industry I developed an appreciation for offering great customer service. That sets a strong platform for what Caribbean Motor Spares offers today. That’s where it all started, the journey was fuelled by a desire to want to offer impeccable customer service and a wide variety of products…” the CEO said. According to him, filling a gap in the local market space is what led to the early success of the company.
“I’ve seen the gap in the market, the competitors want to offer the same thing over and over that lacked innovation, and that’s where we hit it off as a company,” the spare parts dealer shared.
He noted nonetheless that with several other businesses offering a similar service, the competition remains stiff. But according to him, “we purchase from manufacturers across the globe so we are able to offer the customer the best quality products,” he said.
Added to that, the businessman noted that at Caribbean Motor Spares, adequate automotive research is done to help the customers find the products that best suit their needs.
“We are always evolving as a company; that’s due to the fact that we’re always finding solutions to problems and we supply all over the country,” he said, adding that, “We have saturated the Guyana market really well and our customers have become so comfortable with us, with the level of service that they keep coming back for more.”
Given the demand for the products, the business, which started in the bottom flat of his family home at Zeelugt Public Road, had to transition to multiple locations.
“We recently opened our new branch at Grove and later this month or early February. We will open another in Georgetown,” Doobay added proudly.
Our ‘Special Person’ credits his achievement to his close-knit family background. He told this newspaper that most of his values are rooted in his lineage of Hindu priesthood.
Doobay recalled that his induction to the religious priesthood started as a child. “My family is very religious. My grandfather was a Pandit. When he died, I was 11 years old and I started to continue his work as a pandit,” he revealed.
He revealed that although he did not have any formal training back then, he was very aware of the customs and rituals associated with performing religious functions.
“I took over from grandfather who was the pandit for Bartica. After he passed away, for a brief period I started to perform the functions and so forth because I had been learning the principles of Hindu priesthood since I was about five years old,” Doobay said.
As he grew older, Doobay decided that he wanted to continue to walk in the legacy of his grandfather.
“I felt the need to fulfill that legacy, so at the age of 20, I started formal training with Pandit Ramdial Balbadar. He gave me a deeper understanding of Hindu philosophy and practices,” Doobay noted.
Still a practicing pandit, Doobay is often challenged with sorting out his priorities.
Happily married to his wife Kavita, their union has produced three adorable children – Vinash, Varun and Vindya. Although fully aware that family time is important, the businessman admitted that, at times, finding time could be challenging.
“I am always challenged to find enough time to spend with my family and my siblings. I have the business to run and I’m also a qualified pandit, so something is always demanding my time. So my main challenge also is not always having enough time to show to all the functions that I am invited to,” he said.
POISED FOR SUCESSS
Despite the minor challenges, Doobay remains humble and grateful for the life he has managed to carve out for his family. He noted too that this year he has something extra to be thankful for.
When some businesses saw a decline in their output and profitability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Caribbean Motor Spares saw progressive growth. Doobay said that it is not surprising that we have not slowed down.
“We pivoted through the partial lockdown because of the industry that we were in people still needed spare parts because people still had to drive their cars to get to where they needed to be,” he said.
While he has seen his business propelled to the next level, the entrepreneur is looking to the next chapter. “I am optimistic and I am also partners with Action Coach Guyana, so I am looking forward to the growth in 2021 and onwards,” he added.
The CEO said that from his vantage point, the company is poised for growth. At present, he has moved into franchising his business — something that will allow his brand to be established throughout the country.
Added to his work with the company, Doobay said that he has delved into some humanitarian efforts. He noted that giving back is part of his corporate social responsibility.
“This is part of what I have been doing my whole life – helping out the needy – and now that the company is growing we will be looking to do more,” he said.
Alluding to the accomplishments of his company, Doobay credits his hardworking and dedicated team who have always been the driving force behind the company.
“My wife is also an active partner in the business, we spend most of our time together on finding solutions and putting in the work to help build the reputation of the company,” he said.
Speaking about the future of the business, Doobay says that he hopes to take his brand outside of Guyana and establish it in various parts of the Caribbean Region.
For now, however, the businessman is satisfied with sitting at the helm of one of the fastest growing and leading businesses in the local automotive industry.