When Hema and Haresh Bhatt were young and in love in Penang, Malaysia, 31 years ago, they had no idea that they would move to Canada, start an international palm-oil distribution business, and raise two successful daughters.
But looking back now over the years of growth, change, challenge and success, the Bhatts, owners of Natu’oil Services Inc. based out of Port Coquitlam, say their story is a simple one of hard work, perseverance and a positive attitude.
“The day you stop growing is the day you start dying,” says Haresh.
Indeed, the couples’ motto is growth through change and challenge because they have had their fair share of difficulties growing their business. Today, Natu’oil Services Inc. is a premier supplier of sustainable palm oil products to the animal feed, as well as food manufacturing industries.
They faced many challenges when they relocated from Malaysia to Canada in 2003—a decision they made to provide better education for their daughters. Haresh jokes that his wife “wears the pants in the family,” but an interview reveals Hema’s steely resolve, how she took on the challenge of moving to Coquitlam and setting up a house in a new country.
Haresh, meanwhile, learned about the palm oil business in the “school of hard knocks,” after graduating from a university in Iowa, where he completed a double major in business administration and computer science. With over 30 years of expertise in the palm oil industry, including managing a refinery and trading commodities for large corporations, Haresh was able to develop a vertically integrated business model.
As a result, Natu’oil Services Inc. is one of the largest importers of packaged palm-based food products and energy supplements for dairy cattle in North America. The company has warehouses in Port Coquitlam as well as in Toronto and relationships with companies in Europe, Canada and the U.S., including the suppliers of McDonalds and Subway, who use their trans fat-free, non-GMO shortenings.
Natu’oil was the first company to introduce sustainable refined palm oil in North America. In fact, Natu’oil Services Inc. is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil with certified supply chain status. Utilizing sustainability as a competitive advantage, Natu’oil Services is an industry leader in providing superior and sustainable products with exemplary customer service. The company’s emphasis on sustainability before it was a requirement in the industry contributed immensely to its growth.
Unfortunately, a stroke that struck Haresh down in 2014 forced the family to re-evaluate the business, with Hema leading the company together with an able team and the couples’ two daughters, now graduated from university.
Through the ups and downs, the Bhatts continue to support their community whether it be supporting Tri-City families through Share Family and Community Services, City Reach Care Society, Eagle Ridge Hospital or internationally by providing medical clinics and cataract surgery to villagers in Gujarat, India.
“When you do the right things, your business grows as well,” says Haresh, who has recovered and is now back in the family business. “With continuous dedication and the application of proper business ethics, success is inevitable.”
For more information, visit www.natuoil.com.