Dubai: As you enter one of the by-lanes in Bur Dubai, strong smell of flowers welcomes you. Be sure, Perumal flower store is close by.
Flowers have been an integral part of most festivities and ceremonies, and it’s even more significant among the Indian community. Perumal Group of Companies have been serving the community over the last 25 years with a steady supply of flowers.
Sudalaimuthu Perumal, owner of the stores, became nostalgic when he traced back the days when he began the first of the 10 stores currently in operation. Beginning his career as an electrician some 35 years ago and later working in a photo studio, the idea to start a store supplying flowers took roots after Perumal's desperate search to get some flowers for an occasion in Dubai ended with no results.
Having been born in a family doing flower business, Perumal wasted no time to set up his shop in Bur Dubai with the aim of supplying flowers to the temple nearby.
“I was the first to bring and sell Indian flowers in Dubai,” he says proudly, as he prepares to open his 11th store in the UAE.
He started his business by importing just 5-10 kilos of flowers through someone travelling from Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala, to the UAE by flight.
Today Perumal imports 1.5 to 2 tonnes of flowers regularly during the week and nearly 10 tonnes during important Indian festivals.
With the impending Vishu and Tamil New Year, one could see a buzz of activity with variety of flowers like roses, jasmine, marigold arriving in big numbers, with most of them coming in from Madurai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Bengaluru and Chennai.
Among the flowers, jasmine needs careful handling as its life span is only three days, while others have a shelf life of about a week. Hence, jasmine has to be shipped in cool containers.
It is not just during festivals that he meets the requirements, he also supplies for weddings and special garlands for visiting Indian officials.
“The peak wedding season is January and February and sometimes in June as well,” he says. “Recently, we supplied a huge garland to welcome DMK Party leader M.K. Stalin at the Sharjah Expo. A couple of days ago, M.C. Sampath, Tamil Nadu Minister, was here and we gave a garland for that also.”
After all the hard work, Perumal stores have finally blossomed.