Developing township retailers

Pick n Pay's Market Store Partnership with Independent Traders programme

Three Gauteng entrepreneurs have joined the Pick n Pay Market Store Partnership with Independent Traders programme with the opening of their respective market stores. These stores will offer the community greater convenience as well as access to more goods and services at affordable prices, and job opportunities. 

This unique programme enables local township retailer entrepreneurs to remain independent, but equips them with cutting-edge systems and retailing techniques to create a unique township shopping experience.

BVN Market, Mohlakeng

This unique programme enables local township retailer entrepreneurs to remain independent, but equips them with cutting-edge systems and retailing techniques to create a unique township shopping experience.

Self-employed businessperson Vusi Ndhlovu is proof that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible. His father was a successful retailer who opened a general dealer in the 1960s to serve the Mohlakeng community. On his passing in 1996, Ndhlovu turned to the wrong crowd, which ultimately saw him arrested for car theft in 1998. During his three-and-a-half years in prison, he learnt the importance of education and grew determined. When the policy his father had left him matured, Ndhlovu – at the age of 21 – reopened his father’s supermarket in 2003.

Over the years he secured funding to expand his business to include a butchery and café. With a desire to grow further and modernise his store, Ndhlovu sought assistance from the programme after being introduced to it by Thami Manzi from Ola’s Market – the first market store to open as part of the programme.

The new BVN Market, which opened on 20 December 2018, has almost doubled in size to 129m2 and includes a bottle store of 63m2. Ndhlovu has also grown his staff complement from six to 16. He says that he always wanted to make BVN a leading supermarket. “I am ready for this new challenge and to make a greater contribution in my community.”

Summore Market, Tembisa

Summore Market opened its doors to the Tembisa community on 7 December 2018. owner Pilane Kwakwa, 36, has always wanted to own a retail store. Growing up in his grandfather’s general dealer shop, he fondly remembers engaging with customers since he was a very young boy. 

A qualified mechanical engineer from UCT, Kwakwa held a few corporate roles before quitting in 2010 to start his own start-up business, and he still manages an enterprise resource planning company. He says that he was very excited to see his store become a reality. Summore Market will be approximately 503m2 and he has already created employment for 19 people.

Dinny's Market, Sebokeng

Entrepreneur Johannes Letswalo opened his store, Dinny's Market, in Sebokeng at the end of November. Letswalo’s love of retail also started at a young age. “When I was in primary school, I helped my uncle sell fresh fruit and vegetables out of a bakkie and then at a market we established on the corner of our street,” says Letswalo.

After finishing school, he joined Pick n Pay and worked his way up the ranks to manage his own branch. When visiting a market store as part of the programme earlier this year, he fell in love with the concept and applied to open his own store. “It is true that the community you live in will build you. When I was selling fruit informally people told me to keep up the good job and that one day I will own a big produce store,” says Letswalo.

Dinny's Market currently employs 23 first-time workers. “This has been a dream come true and we are really happy to be serving the people of Sebokeng Zone 12 who have welcomed us with open arms.”

Through the programme, Pick n Pay and its suppliers fit each store with new refrigeration and IT systems, allowing each store to stock 1 300 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables. Each store also includes a deli, bakery and butchery area. Customers will also have access to services such as money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity. 

Pick n Pay deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg says: “In every community, there are people who are helping their community to achieve success and prosperity. These people are called entrepreneurs. We believe successful businesses help the broader community and with this programme, we have the opportunity to work alongside township retailers to either help build or grow their business. 

“Increasingly customers are wanting to shop in their own neighbourhoods. Through this programme we are engaging with entrepreneurs and communities we believe can benefit from the programme’s offering. Our partnership approach means that the entrepreneurs remain independent but that they will have access to our buying power, supply chain and systems expertise. This, coupled with their intimate community knowledge, means we can establish a profitable trading relationship, but also one that is in the best interest of their community.”

Extensive mentorship is provided by Pick n Pay to store owners to enhance their business processes and all staff also receive training to advances their skills, such learning to be butchers and bakers.

The programme’s results have been incredibly encouraging, says Van Rensburg. “Customers are loving having a full grocery shop close to where they live, at competitive prices. This is precisely what we are trying to achieve through this partnership with the programme’s retailers.”

Van Rensburg concludes, “We feel honoured to have worked with the programme’s retailers – they have taught us as much as we have shared. We wish our new and existing market store owners a successful and prosperous trading future. Pick n Pay will continue to support them in whatever capacity they need to help them achieve the best outcome for their business.”