Small Business Showcase: Shahani Inc.
Each month, we profile a Connecticut small business, showcasing the ingenuity and innovation driving the state’s economy. For October, we spoke with Shahani, Inc.’s Balal Khan. The energy distributor and retailer is based in Branford.
When was your company founded?
How many employees work for your company?
Who are your customers?
Our customers are people of all walks of life.
The unique part of working in fuel and retail is that we provide service to every individual across all industries, from the stay at home mom to a roofing contractor.
We supply fuel to anyone looking to distribute it—unbranded or branded fuel (Gulf, BP, Phillips 66, Conoco)—and our locations then help keep our communities refueled.
This extends into the retail space with convenience stores and QSRs, such as local delis, Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa Johns, and Dairy Queens.
What makes your company unique?
We are family owned and operated and keep a focus on trying to serve our local communities.
Why did you choose Connecticut?
Connecticut chose us.
Mohammad Khan, a Pakistani immigrant, came to New York City to pursue the American dream and ended up settling in Connecticut where he bought his first fueling station.
He started from that one site and has now worked his way up to being a fuel distributor and has a plethora of experience in convenience stores along with food service restaurants like Papa Johns and Dairy Queen.
Connecticut played a pivotal role in helping him achieve his version of the American dream and his family looks to continue that while keeping Connecticut as their base of operations.
What is the greatest advantage to operating in Connecticut?
The community and geographic location of Connecticut is the greatest advantage to operating here.
This gives us great access to a growing population and allows us to easily enter nearby states since our state is easily accessible.
How do you try to give back to your community?
We engage with the local community in various ways all the time.
During the 2022 elections we held get out the vote campaigns at all our fueling stations where we lowered fuel prices and had tents and volunteers on site to help people register to vote.
We have also sponsor various local sport teams through the Hamden Fathers basketball league.
Where do you see your company in five years? Ten years?
In five years we hope to further expand our presence in the New England area.
2023 marked our first major reentry into Massachusetts and Rhode Island and we hope to grow in those markets along with our current Connecticut market.
We also hope to have a few of our sites with ultra fast EV chargers to help in the process of the energy transition.
In ten years we hope to have an established household brand for convenience items, food service, and energy distribution (both fuel and EV charging) to keep our local communities recharged and moving.
What is the main thing policymakers could implement to make your company more competitive?
Robust and fair policies and processes to make the transition from gasoline to EV charging is key in our industry.
It is important that everyone, small businesses especially, get access to the wide range of funding available for EV charging infrastructure. It is important that this funding isn’t provided to only larger corporations.
Furthermore, it is important that transportation energy doesn’t go from the competitive market as it is today to more of a monopolistic market with singular utilities holding more power over consumers.
In the retail space, it is important credit card companies lower their fees and have competition in their market because it hurts many small and large businesses with the exorbitant fees charged by the handful of credit card companies.
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