Armien and Yasmina Adams have become the latest entrepreneurs to join Pick n Pay’s spaza modernisation programme with the opening of Something Nice Market in Blue Downs.
The programme aims to grow a new generation of modern retail entrepreneurs and has proven a successful business model. Entrepreneurs remain independent with both mentorship and training supplied by Pick n Pay.
The opening of Something Nice marks the third store modernisation in the Western Cape; 14 have already opened in Gauteng, where the programme was first piloted in 2016.
Hands-on and hungry for success
Adams’s passion for baking was kickstarted when the-then owner of Something Nice Bakery offered him an opportunity to run his own franchise in Athlone in 1995. Within six months, he had quadrupled the store’s turnover, which prompted him and his wife to quit their full-time corporate jobs and focus on their business.
Six years later, they had accumulated sufficient capital to purchase the flagship bakery in Blue Downs. The couple put all their energy into growing the business until a devastating fire in July last year saw them lose everything. They were forced to close the business while they waited for the insurance claim to be paid.
“The fire made me think about retiring. But at heart, I’m a community man and I don’t just give up. My 30 employees were depending on me,” says Adams.
Prior to the fire, Adams had approached the banks for a loan, and various retail programmes for support. “That didn’t work because the banks were wary of bad debts from our area, and the retailers I approached required that I purchase my own equipment,” says Adams. With the insurance claim paid out, he was able to replace some of the damaged equipment and the rest was simply repaired.
Undeterred and unable to afford to remain out of business for any longer, they re-opened the bakery in March this year, and slowly, customers returned.
Selected for Pick n Pay spaza modernisation programme
Good news came in May, when he was told he’d been selected to participate in Pick n Pay’s spaza modernisation programme. The programme’s partners include the Old Mutual Foundation, Masisizane Fund, the National Empowerment Fund, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town. This meant that the Adams’s store would be modernised and equipped with new refrigeration and equipment, cutting-edge systems and retailing techniques.
With their newly upgraded business, Something Nice Market, the Adams’ will continue to offer their customers their established bakery offering and hot food deli section, but the 300sqm store will now also include a new butchery and grocery offering (stocked with 1300 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables). Services like money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity have also been introduced to the store.
Adams says that he is very grateful for everything he and his wife has achieved so far. “I’ve always made the best with what I’ve had and have done it to the best of my ability to make it a success so that it serves my community and empowers people.”
Helping retail ‘treps reach their potential
Pick n Pay deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg says: “When we began this journey, we set out to help retail entrepreneurs achieve their potential without ever losing their independence, providing the means for them to create real, sustainable businesses. Empowering them in turn helps empower communities through employment, supplier development and access to outstanding retail shops. We’re really proud of the programme’s success to date.
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, says: “The first two spaza shops in the programme have already recorded huge successes as a result of the funding and the support they have been given and we wish Armien Adams every success in this venture. Mr Adams’s entrepreneurial spirit and his determination to make his business succeed has created 30 jobs in his community. With new product lines and services like money transfer, we hope to see his business go from strength to strength.”
Says Adams: “The Pick n Pay team has given us incredible retail training and support. With the new systems and processes available to us, I can manage my stock better and no longer have to take an afternoon off to do weekly bulk shops. This will give me more time to focus on growing my business.”
About Pick n Pay’s spaza modernisation programme
- Pick n Pay and its partners in the programme upgrade spaza stores to meet the needs of customers and communities, helping to grow a new generation of modern retail entrepreneurs, and boost economic revitalisation in townships.
- The success of the programme lies in helping independent entrepreneurs stay independent and remain owners of their own stores, but become more successful with a range of trading and financial assistance: This unique partnership combines the capability and systems of South Africa’s most trusted retailer with the spaza owners’ intimate knowledge of the needs of township customers to create a new shopping experience, grow township economies and boost employment.
- Pick n Pay works with its suppliers to upgrade the store with new refrigeration and IT systems and enables the store to stock 1300 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables. The stores can offer residents services like money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity.
- Extensive mentorship is provided by Pick n Pay, as well as training which comprises both in-store and classroom training. This includes store systems and point of sale (including banking and cash management), finance management, customer service and entrepreneurial development. The shop’s staff also receive training which advances their skills.
- The store owners remain fully independent and can source products other than those offered by Pick n Pay. Pick n Pay sets minimum standards of operation, range, and pricing to ensure the model is successful.
- Customers also benefit from the fact that stores are linked to the Pick n Pay Smart Shopper loyalty programme.
- To date, 17 stores have opened.