2021 Publishers’ LOVE Award: Anjali Gupta, Pinwheel Provisions
"The challenges never diminish; they just change form."
We are pleased to present Anjali Gupta of Pinwheel Provisions with a Publishers’ LOVE Award for her tenacity and resiliency in opening her business in 2020 and finding her way to thrive, serving families around the Main Line with delicious meals.
Pinwheel Provisions provides home meal solutions for busy households and individuals who need a hand getting healthy, homestyle meals on their tables quickly and conveniently. Their locally-produced Ready Meals, Farm-Frozen Prepared Items and Produce, and All-Natural Meat & Poultry from small local farms provide all the components for meals that require minimal stress, prep, or planning and offer maximum flexibility to accommodate all the dietary restrictions and varied palates in a household. They emphasize local products, and their approach aims to minimize packaging and food waste.
What pivots did you make in 2020? How did your organization evolve to meet the needs of your clients through the pandemic?
Our shop opened in Narberth just two weeks prior to the pandemic so, although it was unfortunate timing for us, we are grateful to have had the loyalty and constant support of the local communities to ensure we could see our way through the challenges. Although we were never intending to conduct online sales, the pandemic required us to convert rapidly to all online sales with curbside pickup and local home delivery. Our customers responded enthusiastically to our new model, and expressed gratitude that we could help them stock their freezers and pantries with Ready Meals and non-perishable products that alleviated the burden of cooking every night, and provided healthy and tasty meals that they could heat and serve to their families at a moment’s notice.
What is one thing you know now, in running a business, that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
The challenges never diminish; they just change form. When you are running your own business, there are no “downtimes” or “autopilot modes”; but the satisfaction of realizing your vision and making strides in your mission is unmatched.
What is one thing you wish more people know about your organization in 2021?
Our business concept is modeled on longstanding trends in Europe, in which frozen meals and produce have become mainstays of the family meal in France, the UK, Scandinavia, Spain, etc. Europeans have long understood that flash-freezing meals and produce locks in the flavors, textures, and nutrients of freshly cooked or harvested foods almost indefinitely. In most cases, frozen produce is nutritionally superior to the fresh products available at grocery stores. And they are much more convenient to use, as they are already washed and prepped and ready to use right out of the freezer (no thawing required.) Also, frozen products virtually eliminate food waste as they stay in optimal condition for up to a year, and you can use just the amount you need in any recipe and keep the rest stored safely in your freezer.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from other local leaders? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
My parents launched a food business, Jyoti Natural Foods, themselves as a second career and built it up from a cottage operation to a large manufacturing corporation that distributes products nationally and internationally. They have managed to carve their own path for the past 40 years, have endured all manner of challenges, and have kept their business going and growing. They are an inspiration to me.
How does your organization help the local community?
After the pandemic struck, we made a strong commitment to seeking out and promoting the products of small local businesses that were struggling to withstand the shock to their business and suddenly limited avenues of distribution. Our customers have been very enthusiastic about purchasing the products of local businesses and appreciate our focus on them. We also have conducted fundraising campaigns for the Women’s Resource Center in Wayne, a remarkable organization that serves women and girls in crisis in our community, and Penn Valley Elementary School. Our low packaging and food waste approach also supports our community by raising awareness about the impact of discarded food and packing and helping reduce them.