It took family business Supa Ginja 14 years to grow from operating in a garage with a handful of employees to owning a warehouse with over 200 workers. The owners of the business, which now supplies ginger powder to make ginger beer to Shoprite, had a strong desire to grow exponentially. Supa Ginja was founded by Johan and Sampie Pretorius, and they were joined by their father, Danie.
Johan Pretorius, who is the company’s CEO, told Vutivi News that the business came into existence after the family saw a gap in the market for quality and affordable ginger beer powder that could be brewed at home in the traditional way. The company is located in Hartebeesfontein in the North West and manufactures a ginger beer powder that is mixed with water. It started off in a 32-square metre garage and it was not until the Covid-19 lockdowns that the business started booming.
Pretorius explained that during those days, they still had their challenges. “The demand for our product would spike during lockdown periods, and then decline again after it was lifted, but what lockdown really did for us was to get the product’s name into the market,” he said. “All the profit we made during lockdown was put into marketing and that is where we really banked on our growth.”
This gamble proved worthwhile, as the company recently signed a distribution deal with Shoprite. Pretorius told Vutivi News that they realised that they would need access to consumers and their deal with Shoprite has not only given them a national footprint but also enabled them to create jobs. “We created many new jobs due to more traceability and quality control requirements,” he said. “We also expanded our sales and admin teams to keep up with the rising demand and incoming orders.”
Pretorius said that 10 employees were solely responsible for handling the Shoprite account. Now that company is doing well, it is facing other hurdles such as load-shedding, rising transport costs because of the fuel hikes, and cash-strapped consumers with little to no expendable income. The business has also had to adjust to supplying a large retailer, which includes delivering multiple small orders in a short space of time.
But now that Supa Ginja is enjoying steady growth, its owners plan on tapping into the African market. “At the moment we are developing networks in Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia as well as Zambia,” Pretorius said. “We are also in talks to manufacture a house brand ginger beer powder for all the Shoprite stores.”