DURBAN - The community of Thokoza welcomed the opening of Matlala Market and it will now offer customers greater variety, a fresh offering and money services under one roof and on their doorstep.
Previously a juice supplier to Matlala Multimarket Store, Sylvester Lehlohonolo Motubane today rents the building from previous store owner, Ntate Matlala.
Motubane, along with his partner and co-owner, Masecaba Malehlohonolo Sibanyoni, are the latest entrepreneurs to take part in Pick n Pay’s Market Store Partnership with Independent Traders. Through the programme and its partners, local stores are upgrade with cutting-edge systems and retailing techniques to create a unique township shopping experience.
What makes the programme unique is that all store owners remain 100 percent independent.
Launched in Gauteng in 2016, this will be the first market store in the programme to open in Thokoza. Two other stores have opened in Ekurhuleni, Mario's Market and Stallion Market in 2017.
The Pick n Pay programme soon caught their attention and within a couple of months, Matlala Market became a reality.
The building previously home to Matlala Multimarket Store was upgraded and fitted with new refrigeration and IT systems, allowing the store to stock 1 300 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables.
“We are excited with the renovations. With the new equipment and set up of the butchery, deli and bakery, it has given the building a new life,” says Sibanyoni.
Customers will also have access to services like money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity.
The programme also brings new job opportunities to the area. She says that the store currently employees 18 people but that they intend to employ a further 10 employees in the near future.
Eldene Govender, Investment Principal for the National Empowerment Fund’s iMbewu Fund – a partner in the programme said that this is an important initiative that will revitalise the township economy and ensure that small businesses in townships remain competitive and sustainable in the long term. “Partnering with a strong retail brand, such as Pick n Pay which has extensive distribution networks countrywide and years of retail expertise, will ensure that these township businesses receive all the support required to operate their own successful businesses".
To date, the programme has opened 21 stores and stores are performing well. “We believe the success of the programme lies in helping independent entrepreneurs stay independent, but even more successful with a range of trading and financial assistance,” says Pick n Pay deputy CEO, Richard van Rensburg.
What is next for the power couple? Sibanyoni says that while they would love to open more stores soon, they will be concentrating all their effort on making this store a success for their community.
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