Businessman and owner of Tony Atchar, Tony Mepa, says that thanks to the exposure he received from Vutivi News, his product can now be found at Shoprite and Makro. His brand has also grown to the point where he is now a member of Proudly South African. Mepa’s story was published by Vutivi News in October last year. He had turned atchar, which is loved by many South Africans, into a sauce.
Mepa said that his company was flourishing. “After our product was published by Vutivi News, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public,” he said. “Orders started coming in droves, and it also opened up opportunities for us to be listed with Makro online and with Shoprite in Gauteng.” The businessman said that due to the growth, he had increased his staff contingent to 13, and two of them were casual workers.
“I put together a marketing team to market the product and put it out there. This included promotions, activations, digital marketing and other approaches,” he said. “We also got a lot of orders from different businesses after the article was published, and we were encouraged by the public to take it a step further.” Mepa had applied in the past to be listed with Shoprite in Tshwane, but his product was rejected.
“When we applied again after the article was published, this time to the head office, our application was accepted,” he said. “We were also recognised by Makro and they agreed to list our product… online,” Mepa said that being part of Proudly South African had opened doors for him. “PSA connected us to the Small Enterprise Finance Agency and other wholesalers, and now we are close to our goal of having our product nationally,” he said.
While the entrepreneur is delighted with the position of his business, he told Vutivi News that it had not been easy going. “Load-shedding made it extremely difficult for us to conduct business. Sometimes we would receive large orders, but because of load-shedding, we could not deliver on time. However, we were able to manage the backlog.”
Mepa believes that the future looks very bright for his company. “We will be listed with Makro online for six months, and thereafter we will be in stores depending on the performance of the product,” he said. “We are also working on another seasoning product, and it is currently out for lab tests, and from there the product will get accredited so that we are able to produce it in large quantities.”