Pick n Pay’s Spaza Modernisation Programme

Helping to grow a new generation of modern retail entrepreneurs

The Pick n Pay Spaza Modernisation Programme was piloted in 2016 in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development. Six stores opened in 2016 and eight stores in 2017. The programme upgrades spaza shops to meet the needs of customers and communities, helping to grow a new generation of modern retail entrepreneurs and boosting economic revitalisation in townships. The store owners remain fully independent and can source products other than those offered by Pick n Pay. Extensive mentorship is provided, as well as both in-store and classroom training. The success of the programme lies in helping independent entrepreneurs remain independent but even more successful, with a range of trading and financial assistance. Below we look at two recipients of the programme.

From trading sweets on the playground to opening his own store

Township entrepreneur, Linda Ndebele, has always known how to hit the sweet spot with customers – going back to his school days, when he traded sweets on the playground, and on to the opening of his own store, when he spotted a gap in the market for maize meal.

The success of the programme lies in helping independent entrepreneurs remain independent but even more successful, with a range of trading and financial assistance.

Now Ndebele has partnered with retail giant Pick n Pay to bring a new level of convenience to his customers in Pimville, Soweto, with the launch of Linda’s Market.

Ndebele’s first retail business was established in 2004, 10 years after he completed his matric, when he saw the opportunity to sell maize meal after a new product had been advertised.

The new product spurred demand in the township, but no one was selling the product there, so he took the gap. When business started to slow, he bought a container spaza shop and opened Y-Not Tuckshop. To set himself apart, he added bunny chows to his grocery offering. Due to its success, he opened a second Y-Not Tuckshop in 2009.

“My business was growing, but I wanted to do more, so in 2014 I opened my third Y-Not Tuckshop… but instead of selling bunny chows, we offered ‘Buy & Braai’, where our customers could buy their meat and we’d braai it outside the spaza shop,” says Ndebele.

“While business was going well, I realised I hadn’t grown as much as I should have over the past 10 years. The challenges I faced included supply chain management, as I wasn’t able to buy in bulk and always had to buy in cash. Spaza shops are not well recognised, so when I had the opportunity to partner with a recognised brand such as Pick n Pay, I realised this was my chance to take my business to the next level,” says Ndebele.

Pick n Pay has worked with its suppliers to fit Ndebele’s store with new refrigeration and IT systems, enabling him to stock 1 300 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables. Linda’s Market will also offer Sowetan residents services such as money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity. 

Ndebele’s store now boasts a 91 m² grocery trading floor and, once the liquor licence has been approved, a 56 m² bottle store. A container was added at the back of the store to increase the servicing area and maximise trading floorspace.


With the launch of Linda’s Market, Ndebele has employed 10 staff members. He also still runs his three Y-Not Tuckshops, which employ nine people in total. 

Ndebele says the customer feedback since Linda’s Market opened its doors has been “absolutely amazing”.

Jobs, skills and opportunity come to Nyanga

Nyanga residents woke up to a new phase in their suburb’s development with the opening of Ndwamba Market – an upgraded spaza shop offering convenience on their doorstep and jobs and opportunities for locals.

Nyanga businesswoman, Khosi Liwani, joined the Western Cape family of independent store owners taking part in Pick n Pay’s innovative Spaza Modernisation Programme.

Liwani’s expanded staff complement have received expert training in IT systems, customer service, hygiene and more traditional retailing skills – such as baking and the butchery – that open fresh opportunities for each of them.

Following the successful opening of Nozinga’s Market in Gugulethu in October, which marked the expansion of the programme to the Western Cape from Gauteng, Ndwamba Market was launched in Nyanga, with a crowd of residents queuing to become its first customers.

Liwani took over Ndwamba when her father died in 1995, when she was just 21, and is excited to take her business to a whole new level.

“We were thinking of how to expand when Pick n Pay approached us, and this is the fulfilment of a dream. We’ll be the only branded supermarket in Nyanga,” she says.

Ndwamba has also been kitted out with new refrigeration and IT systems and will stock more than 1 000 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables. Services such as money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity add to the convenience.

Liwani says she is “excited about the new-look store, and the benefits it will bring to those who live in Nyanga”.

“We are also going to be employing people from Nyanga in the store, so it’s a win-win situation,” she says.

Pick n Pay deputy CEO, Richard van Rensburg, says many spaza shop owners struggle to access the means to grow and develop their business. “With the programme, these owners not only have access to quality products at good prices and a reliable distribution system, but the programme also implements good business management systems and provides business advice and mentorship to the owners so that they can succeed.”