Franchising News South Africa

Franchise dream comes true in Bloem

Pick n Pay converts first Free State Score store to a Franchise Family Store.

A dream will come true for two young Free State men on 19 March when Pick n Pay opens its first converted Score store in the province as a Pick n Pay Franchise Family store in the city centre. The company's Emerging Market Division, which focuses on developing and growing black entrepreneurs for the company's franchise division, carried out the conversion.

The company announced in October last year that a large number of its Score stores would be converted to Family stores, creating 82 new black entrepreneurs, and, in most cases, doubling the number of employees in each store.

Bloemfontein Central Park Pick n Pay is situated adjacent to the railway station, interstate bus company rank and a major taxi rank. It is the third store to be converted in South Africa, the other two being Bara City in Soweto and Hendrina in Mpumalanga.

The new store has been designed as a world-class store, carrying ranges that effectively reflect the needs, demands, particular product trends and personality of its customers.

The new owners are Tseliso Mpekoa and Fourie du Plessis. Tseliso was born and raised in Ficksburg and began his career in the retail industry selling oranges in his township, before selling sweets and peanuts at his school. Fourie grew up on a farm near Bethulie and at the age of five, he helped his grandfather in the family-owned farm shop.

After his grandfather passed away, Fourie kept the store running with his father.

Tseliso, who has a B Sc degree, majoring in computer science and operations research, from the University of the North, initially worked in the Information Technology (IT) industry in Gauteng but always felt he wanted to be in the retail industry. So he approached Pick n Pay about becoming a franchisee. Because Tseliso's background was non-retail, the company enrolled him at its Franchise Academy which assists and educates previously disadvantaged franchise candidates. The two-year course consists of two parts - theory and practical. The theory is conducted at the University of Johannesburg and the practical hands-on experience is gained at numerous company stores, an experience he describes as being invaluable.

After matriculating in Bethulie in 1993, Fourie moved to Bloemfontein and worked as a trainee accountant while studying part time of the University of the Free State. After completing his studies and training in 1999, he was given the opportunity of returning to his childhood passion, retailing, when he applied to the company for a job as an accountant at its Menlyn Retail Park branch in Pretoria. In 2002, he partnered in a business, Duca Consulting, which focused on accounting, payroll and financial advice services for the company's franchised businesses and in 2005 he decided to return to Bloemfontein. Then, last year, the company gave him the opportunity to partner with Tseliso in a new franchise store.

The new store will carry a wide range of merchandise to suit all needs, from the frequent shoppers to the bulk buyers, backed up by a full convenience range in keeping with the changing lifestyles of Bloemfontein residents. The store incorporates a first class bakery, a top range of meats and poultry and a wide range of fresh produce.

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