Meet the Man behind the Tserti Store


Tserti is a store of fresh agriculture products and meat, recently opened in Tbilisi. GEORGIA TODAY sat down with the one of the two founding brothers, Bidzina Gonashvili, who talked to us about the company, its future plans, the problems in the industry, and much more.

Tell us about your first steps in this industry.

This is my first experience of retailing. Because our family produces a lot of agriculture products, I decided to unite them in one place, called Tserti. Why Tserti? Tserti is a history which needs to be carried on. In old Georgian language, this word meant a specific place where consumers could buy agriculture products. All we did was modernize this concept.

How did you get the finances to start up the business?

To start the business, we took out a bank loan. My brother and I have a business which also directly connects to agriculture, and the Bank of Georgia, which has been our partner for many years, financed our project.

How do your products differ from others on the market?

Our production differs from others because we ourselves are farmers and are actively involved in the process of growing many of the products that we offer. This gives us an additional opportunity to further adapt to the demands of the market, and deliver the highest quality. We believe we can live up to the expectations of our consumers, who now, in the 21st century, are looking for healthy, high-quality products. The concept of Tserti is that when you enter our store, you will see what we are all about: everything is transparent and clients can see each step of the process of Tseri production.

Where is your farm located? Is it equipped with modern technologies?

Our farm is in Kiziki, Dedoplistkaro. I would say the model of our farm is a new statement in Georgian agriculture and it perfectly repeats the standards and approaches that are popular and approved in Europe and America.

The dairy and meat market is especially competitive in Georgia. What challenges have you experienced?

Although we realized the competitiveness of the market, I’ll honestly say that we were not afraid one bit. Because our experience, which we have gained throughout our years working in agriculture, guaranteed the stability of our production, as well as that it would be among the best.

The risks now are mostly connected to external factors, like milk falsification, which causes prices to plummet, and so on.

Tserti is more than just a store for dairy and meat products. What other production do you offer?

Tserti, as I mentioned earlier, is a modernized version of the traditional agriculture store. In Tserti, up to 30 semi-processed goods are made on the spot, including khinkali, pelmeni, etc. What’s more we offer tasty bread, also baked on the spot, which adds to our advantage on the market. The full variety of our products and their quality has over 500 people walking into our store every day, and this is just the beginning.

Are you thinking about diversifying your goods further and maybe opening other stores in Tbilisi and/or the regions?

We are planning on widening our output, in size and variety. Basically, the everyday task of our management is to improve quality and implement novelties. About opening other stores, first, we believe, we need to pass the full business cycle, and above all, educate and improve the members of our staff, so that every future Tserti is even more adapted to the demands of our clients.

You have a lot of experience in this field. Do you see any flaws in product quality control on the market?

I believe the National Food Agency is one of the most important state agencies in the country. I also believe that the health of our country’s goods is quite well-protected at this point. Honestly, business operators in Europe have lower demands than [there are] in Georgia, and we can only praise that fact.

Tell us about your partners, the ones who supply you and the ones you supply.

The starting idea of Tserti was to connect producers with consumers. We have a few farms which supply us with dairy goods, and they make outstanding products from high-quality milk, like Matsoni, that will truly take you back in time with its traditional taste. We always have our partner farmers’ backs, and are always ready to help improve their production.

On our end, we supply about 12 restaurants, including the HoReCa segment, daily. This is one of the most important directions for our business. Other than our high-quality production, we offer them documents detailing the full background of our products, proving their healthiness, which makes their business easier.

Tserti’s production includes vegan goods, too. Do you plan on diversifying this segment?

Although the size and variety of our produced vegan goods is quite limited right now, because of the demand, I do not rule out offering more diverse vegan goods.

What would be your advice to entrepreneurs just starting out?

I would advise them to be different and try to compete only in quality and service improvement and not falsification of products. This way, they will, for sure, get their deserved place on the market.

We started with a unique concept from the start, even though it seemed like the industry we stepped into was fully supplied if not oversupplied. We try every day to be the leaders in the field by implementing novelties, improving our services, and I think that with our great team, we do a pretty good job, and we will continue to become even better, and for this, I’d like to thank them very much.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

17 February 2020 20:13