Due to unfavourable retention policies in the UAE, Shiju an Indian immigrant, had to leave Dubai for Tasmania after his contract as a technical team leader was not renewed. Little did he know he was about to live his best life!
Northern Tasmania has a warm and welcoming culture, and this was not lost on Shiju Thankappan Pochayii when he first arrived Mowbray in 2009. The decision to choose Tasmania specifically was heavily influenced by his immigration agent. After observing the Launceston business sector, community and economy, Shiju decided to set up a grocery shop in Mowbray to cater to the culinary needs of Indians within the city.
He first heard of Australia from an article in the newspapers in Dubai and although securing permanent Residency was not as easy as the article said, Shiju has not only obtained permanent Residence but is now a citizen of Australia.
As his clientele grew Shiju expanded his offerings to serve Asian, Australian and African groceries. This paid off as his shop has become something of a communal hub drawing customers of all ethnicities from as far as 300 kms away up to Strahan and Queenstown.
He and his staff offer friendship and they go the distance to support newly arrived immigrants offering helpful tips on a variety of day to day issues.
When asked if he is worried about the big supermarkets affecting his business Shiju said:
“We don’t sell the same things…people come to my shop for more than groceries. They come for comfort and interaction”
Shiju went on to say that in the first few years in Launceston he heard rumours of a better economy on the mainland, but he is convinced that Northern Tasmania offers the best combination of economic growth and quality of life.
Shiju’s wife works as a nurse and both his children school at St. Finbarr’s Primary School.
His friendly disposition and his shop so full of international groceries, is just one of the reason Northern Tasmania stands out.