From next year, the retail business in townships is in for a major change that will not only see locals conveniently getting the goods they want, but community upliftment on a level never experienced before.
2uFoods which was started in 2015 by businessmen Kholofelo Maponya and Sipho Mahlangu, has decided to rebrand and help ensure that money spent by community members stays in their communities.
In recent years, big retailers have been branching out into townships to expand their customer base.
But according to Zach Mogotsi, the CEO of 2uFoods, the creation of a retail chain store specifically for the township meant that businesses were ploughing back into their communities.
“It was launched as a business that was going to be in the townships and serve the township market by providing groceries in containers. However, after consultation and market research, we decided to rebrand and relaunch the business, which will be done in March 2021,” he said.
“… we started with a container that was selling non-perishable goods. What we realised was that there was no profit in selling those items if that was all we were selling, knowing that we were competing with big retailers… as we consulted people, and we found that there was a huge demand for a prepared food section in the container.”
Following the consultations, 2uFoods now exists in its current form – what consumers would expect to get from larger retailers, but in a more accessible way.
This has allowed the company to keep little stock in the containers, with the ability to deliver stock from their warehouse daily.
Mogotsi said that 2uFoods would offer aspiring and budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to become store owners.
“Each store owner will receive full stock, an iKhaphela scooter and training ahead of opening for the owner and staff members,” he said.
“The owner is given the opportunity to run their own business, and they are assigned to the store and are given tablets and a scooter so that they deliver food to the people.”
Mogotsi said his company was very different from other township retailers.
“Our business is not a supermarket where you walk in. You either order online, at the counter or through assisted e-commerce. The assisted e-commerce operates on the basis that the owner or employee knows where to get orders,” he said.
These included people living with disabilities, pensioners and those who ended work late.
“With the tablet he is given he is able to go to the customers’ homes and show them the catalogue of goods provided, which he is then able to deliver,” he told Vutivi News.
And through their iKhaphela Youth Economic Development Initiative, the company aims to tackle the rising levels of youth unemployment.
“Store operators are encouraged to employ local youth who understand the needs and nuances of the communities in which they live,” he said.
“It is imperative that we foster an advantageous economic environment in the communities by servicing their basic needs and saving them money they would ordinarily spend travelling between towns and cities for daily, weekly and even monthly shopping.”
So far 300 entrepreneurs have signed up to own a shop.
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