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Uka Solanki for community efforts


NRI Inc recognizes Uka Solanki for community efforts

NRI electrical Engineer, too smart to run Supermarket chain in LA area

Los Angeles, July 30, 2010,
Gary Singh/ Rani Mehta

We heard Mr. Uka Solanki's name before and liked to know more about him before going to press release about his grocery store- supermarket chain when he invited us to the grand opening of our new location in the City of Long Beach.  We found that he is a electrical engineer and liked to know why he is in grocery store business. When we reached there, we were really surprised to see the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

His whole family and friends were there to support him.  Bob Foster Long Beach Mayor and Vice Mayor Val Lerch, Council member for the 9th District were there to ribbon cutting ceremony. Others at the reception were City Council members, Police, Fire Brigade, vendors, suppliers, bankers, friends and well wishers. There was a big line of shoppers  to take advantage of the opening promotion. It is above 45,000 sq. ft with 14 departments including produce, grocery, Liquor, beverages, hot bakery, kitchen, meat, dairy, deli and frozen section. ….…..….Read 

His email invitation was:

From: ukasolanki
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 2:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: Grand Opening November 19th 2009

Invited Us on the grand opening of our new location in the City of Long Beach

Mr. …I would like to extend a warm invitation to the grand opening of our new location in the City of Long Beach.  It would be a great pleasure to have your participation at the Ribbon Cutting Cermeony that will take place on Thursday, Novemeber 19,2009 at 9:00am.  Our event will be held at 1313 East Artesia Blvd. in North Long Beach at the corner of Artesia and Orange. It is our intent to help improve the communities we serve.  We are confident that with your help and support, we can form a partnership that will benefit the residents of the comminty.  We look forward to meeting you at our event for a mornining of fun, food, and good conversation.

R.S.V.P would be appreciated.

Ukabhai Solanki

Thank you,
Harish Solanki

Big Saver Foods 
4260 Charter St
Vernon CA 90058

Bigsaverfoods is a Los Angeles-based, family-owned retail grocery chain with stores in 14 markets throughout the LA area. From Bolillos, flan, mexican bread to champurrados, chicharrones, tostadas to webers, golden creme to pizzas, ice creams and much much more. They created a "back home" experience for Hispanic Americans and their families!. Currently, Big Saver Foods is operating in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Big Saver Foods is a fast growing grocery retailer that specializes in serving first and second generation Hispanic Americans. Big Saver Foods loyal customers enjoy the stores high quality meats, excellent selection of fresh produce and a wide array of hot and prepared foods. This formula has proven successful, and it is being rolled out to new locations. 

Big Saver Foods is an organization which recognizes individual initiative and believes in its associates.  We are proud of our progress and growth and recognize that our success in large part depends on associates who take great pride in their jobs and in the company.  Big Saver Foods is always looking for individuals who are motivated and are willing to grow.  We are big believers in promoting within our own company.  We are continuously searching for honest, hard working people with good ethics.  Individuals who are customer service oriented with experience or who are willing to learn on the job. 

  • In 1973, after a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Pacific State University and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from India, he and his friend bought a drive-thru dairy store on Redondo Beach. They bought grocery store in Torrance and sold after six month because it was too big for them to handle
  • In 1977, he bought Big Saver Foods, a small, independent grocery market located in Lincoln Heights. He targets the Hispanic market and continued expansion in LA area
  • Uka Solanki is the President and CEO of Big Saver Foods.
  • His son Harish who is the President and Project Manager.
  • Uka’s wife Nalini is the Vice President and also manages the Finance. Nalini Solanki is an active community leader and partners with her husband in his philanthropic endeavors and has special interests in education here and in India
  • Daughter Pratima is Director Operations of the Fresh Food Department while her sister Jyoti is Director Corporate Relations.


Thanks to NRI (Indian American)  philanthropist, Uka Solanki

  • Solanki donated $75,000 to CSULB forming the Uka Solanki Lecture Series aimed at promoting study on India. In 2004, he raised $500,000 to endow the Yadunandan Center for Indian Studies. Some of his endeavors include - funding Doctors to treat earthquake victims in India, creating reading programs and donating food in local communities.
  • Established in 2005 with a generous donation from the Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation, the YCIS supports the impartial study of India’s cultures, peoples and history. The first center of its kind in California, it promotes the study of India through social sciences, humanities, arts, education and other academic disciplines. It provides interdisciplinary study and critical analysis of the Indian subcontinent and its peoples from ancient times to the present. The Center’s curriculum, programs and activities are designed to build bridges between the academic community at CSULB plus the large, diverse Indian American community in Southern California and beyond.
  • With more than a billion citizens, almost 16 percent of the world’s population, India is a reflection of millennia of interaction and exchange across a wide spectrum of cultures and civilizations. Critical contemporary intellectual, political and social issues, such as security, social equality, economic and political development, and the role of historical relationships, are being debated in India. The outcomes of these debates and the manner in which these issues will be addressed is of vital interest to the United States and world community. Center oversight is provided by Dr. Bipasha Baruah, Center Interim Director and Assistant Professor of Geography, a community leadership board and our academic advisory board.
  • The Yadunandan Center for India Studies was formally inaugurated in 2005 with the support of a generous donation from the Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation. The center is named after Nalini Solanki’s great-great grandfather, an early advocate of education in northern India. The endowment from the Solanki family also helped establish the Uka and Nalini Solanki Lecture Series, an annual event which brings a well-known scholar in the field of India studies to the CSULB campus.
  • Mr. Uka Solanki, is a strong supporter of educational and medical charity activities. He has been associated with charitable and community service activities in India, the United States, as well as other countries.
  • The Solanki Foundation has helped provide medical attention to those in need and donated funds for earthquake victims. The foundation has also established a school for girls in the city of Junagadh in Gujarat, India.
  • Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House® -- is to support the health and well-being of children by providing a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children who are receiving care in Southern California. He was Silver Founder $5,000 - $9,999
  • Ten years ago, he instituted an annual $1,000 scholarship program in which five scholarships are awarded to his employees or their children to be used toward their college education.
  • Nine years ago, he provided 40 scholarships, ten each to schools in La Puente, Lincoln Heights, Santa Ana and Highland Park, where $400 Savings Bonds were given to eighth-graders that went toward their college education as well.
  • Then six years ago he adopted junior high schools in Highland Park and El Sereno, setting up a reading program that helped non-English speaking students learn English, and donated another $15,000 to help stock their libraries.
  • At UCLA, his initial contribution of $35,000 was the seed money that brought in the $200,000 that helped to establish the Sardar Patel Dissertation Award in 1999, which awards $10,000 to those candidates who write the best doctoral thesis on any Indian subject except science.
  • In 1986, Solanki contributed $100,000 toward building the Nalini Solanki-Chatralay school in Junagadh, Gujarat, named after his wife, which takes in girls between the ages of 10 to 18. The school educates more than 1,200 girls of all religions and races each year, and also has an adjacent facility for handicapped girls, who receive free tuition and textbooks.

Recognition & Awards:   

  • Mr. Solanki’s business leadership as well as philanthropic efforts have earned him much recognition. A board member of the Mexican American Grocers Association (MAGA), he was awarded the Raul Macias Memorial Award in 1998.
  • he is the recipient of Rotary International’s distinguished Paul Harris Award honoring his community leadership and involvement. The Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation’s donation to the College of Liberal Arts at California State University, Long Beach is an endeavor to help bring greater recognition to India studies by establishing a regional center. Mr. Solanki is the founding president of the Indian Council for the Advancement of Education in India, as well as the founder, president, and patron donor of the Sardar Patel Award at UCLA.
  • Solanki also led The Sardar Patel Award Association (SPAA) which was organized in 1999, in conjunction with the creation of the Sardar Patel Award at UCLA
  • Mr. Uka Solanki serves on the advisory boards of SAHARA.  SAHARA is a non-profit community service agency that was founded in 1991 by seven professionals: five licensed clinical social workers and two physicians (Rusi Alamshaw, Chandrabala Alamshaw, Smita Patel, Charu Modi, Sheela Mehta, Dr. Sulochana Trivedi, and Dr. Pratibha Patel). SAHARA’s toll free 24-hour helpline is supervised by trained volunteers and staff. In August 2003, SAHARA established one of the first transitional homes in Southern California for South Asian survivors of domestic violence through a generous donation made by Drs. Yogesh and Ranjan Goradia.
  • He is one of the six NRIs  chosen for the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Community Awards 2005.
  • Solanki has received a number of awards for his entrepreneurship and for his charity, including the highest Rotarian honor, the Paul P. Harris Award. He is the first non-Rotarian to receive this award. Among his other awards are Progressive Grocer’s “Grocer of the Year” for 2001 and Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Los Angeles area in 2002.

Supermarket or grocery store is a store that sells a wide variety of food. Most supermarkets also sell a variety of other household products that are consumed regularly, such as alcohol (where permitted), household cleaning products, medicine, clothes, and some sell a much wider range of non-food products. Supermarkets are often part of a chain that owns or controls (sometimes by franchise) other supermarkets located in the same or other towns; this increases the opportunities for economies of scale. In the United States, supermarket chains are often supplied from the distribution centers of a larger business.
Supermarkets usually offer products at low prices by reducing margins. Certain products (typically staples such as bread, milk and sugar) are often sold as loss leaders, that is, with negative margins. To maintain a profit, supermarkets attempt to make up for the low margins with a high overall volume of sales, and with sales of higher-margin items. Customers usually shop by putting their products into shopping carts (trolleys) or baskets (self-service) and pay for the products at the check-out. At present, many supermarket chains are trying to reduce labour costs further by shifting to self-service check-out machines, where a group of four or five machines is supervised by a single assistant.
A larger full-service supermarket combined with a department store is sometimes known as a hypermarket. Other services that supermarkets may have include cafs, creches, photo development, pharmacies, and/or gas stations. and its a large self-service retail market that sells food and house-hold goods.



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