HAMILTON, NJ --  The family-owned-global importer and distributor of specialty food products, Shakti Group USA, welcomed representatives on Thursday from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Bank of America to their Hamilton Township, Mercer County facility that recently doubled its New Jersey footprint.   The event also showcased resources available to Garden State small businesses through the NJEDA’s Premier Lender Program.

Through the Premier Lender Program, the NJEDA works with more than two dozen banks throughout New Jersey to guarantee or participate in a portion of commercial loans or lines of credit. Businesses can use this financing for fixed assets or term working capital, and NJEDA’s involvement in the transaction provides lenders with greater flexibility by reducing their overall exposure.  

“With easy access to five major, international airports and close proximity to some of the busiest ports in the country, New Jersey has tons to offer small businesses in the import and distribution sectors,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Connecting these businesses to the resources they need to thrive is fundamental to fulfilling Governor Murphy’s vision for creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy.”

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Founded in 1999 by Bharat Patel and his son Prathik Patel, Shakti wholesales more than 25 brands of various commodities, ranging from spices, nuts, lentils, and beans, to dairy products to exclusive beverages. Shakti also retails many of these products under its exclusive brand called “Aara.” Additionally, Shakti provides private label packaging and offers clients a complete solution for their supermarket, specialty retail store or catalog needs.

At any given time, Shakti Group has over two million pounds of spices, lentils, and beans, and more than 100,000 pounds of inventory of nuts in stock. In addition to its New Jersey operations, Shakti also maintains distribution centers in Illinois, California, Texas, and Florida. 


 
Last year, Shakti outgrew the 40,000-square-foot facility it had been renting in central New Jersey.  Shakti currently employs 20 people and expects to hire seven more within the next two years.
 
“We’ve been fortunate to experience continued year-over-year growth, which we attribute to our loyal customer base and the welcoming environment we’ve found in New Jersey,” Prathik Patel said. “The Garden State has been the perfect location for us to scale our business, so when it came time to establish ourselves in a permanent location, the decision to stay here was easy.”
 
The Patels turned to Bank of America and the NJEDA for support to purchase a larger facility. In December, Shakti Group purchased an 80,000-square-foot warehouse in Hamilton to serve as its national headquarters. Through the NJEDA’s Premier Lender Program, Shakti leveraged financing from a $5.4 million loan from Bank of America with a $1.3 million NJEDA participation to support the purchase.


 
“Participating in the NJEDA’s Premier Lender Program has strengthened our ability to offer flexible financing options to our clients,” Milioti said. “Congratulations to Prathik and Bharat on this major milestone. We wish them continued success in the months and years ahead.”

NJEDA serves as theprincipal agency for driving economic growth to make the State a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

NJEDA CEO Sullivan was among NJEDA representatives to visit Shakti Group today and was joined by Derrick Benns, Director of Business Development - South, and Business Development Officer Kathleen Durand. Bank of America Senior Vice Presidents Catherine Milioti and Michael Cantone, and Bank of America Vice President – Relationship Manager Raj Satsangi accompanied Sullivan on the visit.
 

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