The last 6 days of April 2013 were horribly chaotic, physically exhausting and yet, strangely pleasing!
April 29th was our deadline to finish branding the Country Club Fitness & Vacations store at the Phoenix Market City in Bangalore. The massive project included branding 2500 sq ft of interiors, fixing 2 huge LED signboards, standees, 2 sets of audio system, a ceiling-mount projector and a BMI machine. And very next day on 30th April, the hot tennis belle Sania Mirza was all set to inaugurate the place – cut the ribbon, smile at the cameras, answer few questions for the Press and walk-out, all in less than 10 minutes.
On 23rd April, when I first walked-in, the scenes inside the store looked like a battlefield – nervous, noisy and dusty. Standing on a pile of filthy rubble and trying hard to breathe in the grimy air, I glanced around in disbelief. In the gloomy darkness, I saw carpenters cutting loads of plywood, people precariously balancing on a crumbling ladder to paint the ceiling, a young lad plastering a piece of wall, electricians cutting wires and in midst of such frenzy, a lady sweeping the floor. In a far-off dusty corner, sitting on a cheap plastic chair and covered in dirt, Srinivas Naidu, the site engineer looked helpless.
Looking at the chaos, I realized that the hapless site engineer had a long list of pending works to supervise and unfortunately, he only had 6 days to finish the mammoth task.
Tottering in the muddle and speaking with people, I realized the following:
- Alam, the interior furnishing contractor wanted 2 more weeks to finish the project.
- Varun, the COO, demanded 2 huge 15 ft x 20 ft windows to be built on the 2nd floor facade. To finish such ambitious work, it required minimum 5 days. And apparently, Mall authorities were yet to give permission to break the wall.
- The tiles were yet to be fixed.
- The air-conditioners were yet to be unpacked.
- The plumbing works needed urgent attention.
- The basic electrical fixtures, the lights and the fans were nowhere to be seen.
- The audio system, projector and the BMI machines were yet to be ordered.
- The gym equipment was yet to reach the venue.
This was scary. We were supposed to get a completely furnished store for branding. Now, if our team had to wait for every work to be finished before commencing our job, there was a sure danger of skipping the deadline. But, this was Varun’s pet project and no one liked missing his deadlines. At least, not our team!
So, a dusty afternoon on 23rd April 2013, without the flooring, false-ceiling, painting, furnishing, electrical fixtures, plumbing, mirrors, windows and nothing else, we started branding the Country Club Fitness & Vacations store at the Phoenix Market City in Bangalore.
This is how we accomplished the impossible:
- To skip unfinished interiors and furnishings, only bare walls were selected for initial branding. But this came at the cost of height – the store has a very high ceiling (16 feet) and most of the walls were left empty only above 7 feet!
- To fast track the work, the massive 2500 sq ft branding was printed at a newly opened printing press in Hyderabad.
- 3 skilled workers from a friend’s ad agency in Nellore were hired to mount the branding. They guaranteed to finish the project within the set time-frame and in return, asked only half the payment what Bangalore workers demanded.
- To extract maximum work from all 3 workers, their boss, Bharat Reddy was asked to join our team in Bangalore.
- Every day, we worked from 8 AM to late into the night and on the final schedule, the 3 hired workers toiled for 40 nonstop hours – from 28th morning to 29th evening!
- To get the best quality at the lowest rates, the BMI machine and the LED signboards were sourced from Mumbai.
- To save time, every meal was ordered to the dusty venue. Consequently, every spread was served with an ample blend of sawdust, cement and fresh paint!
And after 6 days of frenzy, when the branding was actually finished on 29th April night, it turned out to be the toughest and the most satisfying assignment of our team.