MAY 2013
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Florida News


Gro Styles Boutique has opened its third shop in Fort Lauderdale/Sunrise. Already blossoming in Orlando and Tampa, Gro Styles has completed a triangle throughout Florida, offering the latest in Indian/Pakistani clothing, jewelry, wedding wardrobes, accessories, gifts, etc., “at the lowest price – guaranteed,” according to its owner Kiran Bahl, also a longtime fashion columnist for Khaas Baat.  

The Sunrise/Fort Lauderdale store is at Pine Oak Plaza, 8923 W. Oakland Park Blvd. For information, call (954) 674-7274.

In Tampa, Gro Styles is at 2035 E. Fowler Ave. For information, call (813) 843-9040.

The Orlando location is at 9456 S. Orange Blossom Trail. For information, call (407) 438-3736.

Also, visit or


Well, Patel Brothers is on a tear. At least in Florida. No doubt about it. After opening stores in Tampa a few years ago and Orlando on OBT late last year, the Chicago-based grocery chain will be opening stores in Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale/Miami area in summer of 2013, according to the latest sale flyer. For information, call Rakesh at (847) 287-2577, e-mail or visit

The Orlando Patel Brothers’ store is at 1750 W. Sand Lake Road. Call (407) 816-0070. The Tampa store is at 1251 E. Fowler Ave., Unit F. Call (813) 558-9090.

TiE Tampa Bay
president Kunal Jain

Indian Immigrant Investors Fund American Dreams

By Shobana Daniell

A local group of successful Indian entrepreneurs has made its first investment in a start-up firm. Four members of the Tampa Bay chapter of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, have bought a 20 percent ownership of Feathr, the brainchild of University of Florida students, and are providing mentoring as well as funding.

TiE Tampa Bay is the newest chapter of a global organization that has 25,000 members in 17 countries. Local businessman and philanthropist Dr. Kiran C. Patel founded the Tampa Bay chapter last fall and chairs its board of directors. TiE is dedicated to what it calls the “virtuous cycle of wealth creation” and focuses on generating and nurturing upcoming entrepreneurs.  

TiE Tampa Bay president Kunal Jain said the investment is designed to free the Feathr team from the distraction of fundraising and instead focus on developing the product. Initially envisioned as a digital business card management system, UF students Aidan Augustin and Neal Ormsbee co-founded Feathr in 2011 after finding no easy way to exchange networking information during conferences.

The investors already have helped Feathr streamline its accounting system and shift the smartphone application from a product marketed to individuals to one event organizers will buy and include in registration packets for attendees.

TiE Tampa Bay has 22 charter members, each of whom qualifies as having a net worth of at least $5 million, and many are “serial entrepreneurs,” having started, developed, and sold several companies. The local chapter has 80 general members, most of whom are themselves starting businesses; that number has grown at each of the five events TiE has hosted since it was established last fall. General members may join online at Charter membership is by invitation only. Jain welcomes inquiries from potential charter members.

Dr. Murthy Bondada, left, seen with
Katrina Putnam, received the
Lifetime Achievement Award at
National Engineers Week.

National Engineering Award
for Orlando's Dr. Murthy Bondada

By Shobana Daniell

Lately you have been hearing about the proposed high-speed train between Orlando and Tampa and if you have wondered why traffic flows smoothly in the United States, it is because of tremendous planning by transportation engineers, and a pioneer in that field is Dr. Murthy Bondada. At the recent National Engineers Week conference in Orlando, he received the Lifetime Achievement in Engineering Award, which is given to a model engineer who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to excellence.

Dr. Murthy was involved in developing comprehensive multi-modal long-range transportation plans for several cities in the U.S., including Detroit, Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville and over 50 feasibility studies for Automated People Movers, Inter-city high speed and maglev systems, and major highway and transit improvements. He was involved in the three downtown people movers (Detroit, Miami and Jacksonville) and several commuter rail and rapid rail systems. He authored and/or co-authored more than 100 project reports and published about 50 technical papers. Since 2000, he has been involved in the research on cost effective and implementable solutions for urban transportation in developing countries and several cities in India. Dr. Murthy, who came to the U.S. for graduate studies in 1968, is a graduate of IIT, University of Pennsylvania and Virginia University. An Orlando resident, he is a consultant with Urban Transportation Engineers and Planners.

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