Choithram & Sons was set up in 1944 in Sierra Leone as a business funding schools and hospitals in west Africa and India. It soon established a presence in Europe, North America, and Africa, but nowhere more so than in the Gulf where Choithrams launched its first supermarket starting with the United Arab Emirates. The retail chain now has 31 supermarkets and has grown across the Gulf with a presence in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. But, as Middle East residents become increasingly concerned with brand affiliation, and with the growing presence of international retailers like Carrefour, Spinneys and Waitrose, how does a homegrown brand maintain its relevance? Operations director Manoj Thanwani shares some tricks of the trade with Hannah Abdulla.