Determination, dedication, and dreams describe the life of Ankush Kakkar. From a young lad who could hardly spell luxury to a young man who built the luxurious Treeoise Resort in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, Ankush Kakkar has come a long way.
Every entrepreneur grows a business from an idea to an institute. Ankush Kakkar, in the year 2000, had an idea to build a resort someday. Twenty years later, in February 2020, he inaugurated the Treeoise Resort. The 33,000 sq yards resort in Baddi, the biggest pharmaceuticals hub in Asia, is now a hospitality landmark competing with Lemon Tree and Sarovar Portico.
The journey of Ankush Kakkar, like many other entrepreneurs, has been dotted with hardships. His father ran a woolen shawl business in Ludhiana. Being a seasonal commodity, the family hardly earned enough to sustain themselves throughout the year. Besides, his father could never afford an employee. So, at the age of 13, Ankush decided to become his father’s helping hand.
Every day after school, Ankush would assist his father in managing the business. He would take care of customer orders and deliveries while helping in the day-to-day affairs of the shop. He managed school and work rather well while learning the ropes from his father. Soon after, as they both began to delve deeper into making the business financially stable, they arrived at one decision – expansion or diversification! So, in 2000, they ventured out to set up a dhaba near Ludhiana bus stand. Ankush was in Class XII then and had already acquired sufficient skills to run another business.
Foundation of the hospitality business
According to Ankush, “We got a patch of land to run a small dhaba where we’d feed bus and truck drivers. This gave us enough of a kick that within two to three years, we bought another property to build a small hotel of 20 rooms.”
With Ankush’s sharp business acumen, the dhaba became a profit center. By 2006, Ankush had built a 20-room hotel property in Ludhiana. Later he even initiated another 42-bed hotel property in the same city.
But this was just the beginning. Ankush’s dream was to own a resort someday, and he continued to work hard to realize it.
Believing in a dream
The successful involvement with the hotel business in Ludhiana catapulted the resort idea. Ankush invested around INR 3 crores to build a resort in Baddi, a town 120 kilometers away from Ludhiana. Finally, on February 28, 2020, the Treeoise Resort, a 33,000 square yards property, opened its doors to the first guests.
The 20 room resort, equipped with four banquet halls, four cottages, a restaurant, a resto-bar, cafe, gym, play zone, outdoor seating, and an upcoming spa and pool, was set to become the best business and tourist hotel in Baddi.
The Pandemic set-back
Hardly had Ankush inaugurated Treeoise Resort in February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. According to Ankush Kakkar, “I remember on March 22, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed ‘Janata Curfew’. We had got a sense that a prolonged lockdown would be imposed and we shielded the staff staying in the resort with essentials; however, the successive lockdowns posed severe challenges.”
Ankush closely monitored the staff staying back at the hotel premises and ensured they had food, accommodation, and healthcare on the premises. Within three months into the lockdown, he even tied up with Malhotra Hospital in Baddi to offer few rooms at the Treeoise Resort as a quarantine zone for Covid-19 patients.
Getting back on one’s feet
With the lockdown restrictions slowly easing, Ankush and his team are working hard to restore their hospitality business. He also plans to open a shawl factory in 2022 to scale up his father’s old shawl business. Call it a dream, call it destiny, from running a dhaba at a bus stand to building a premium resort, Ankush Kakkar has come a long way in his entrepreneurial journey. Ankush is also a renowned astrologer in Ludhiana.