Sunday, May 19

Retail property gets a boost

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Khosi Liwani always wanted to grow her business but encountered challenges.

The corner where Ndwamba Market stands used to be a block of six spaza shops. The City of Cape Town owned the land and buildings pre 1994, but they gave the original shop owners an opportunity to buy the spaces in 2010 at “a reasonable price”.

Khosi Liwani bought three of the spaces, and now rents the other three from the original shop owners.

In continuing to compete with the larger businesses, Liwani always wanted to grow her business – which she took over when her father died, dropping out of college to continue his legacy – but encountered challenges.

“When you go to the banks, you don’t get the opportunity or funds to grow your business,” she said. “Just another environment where you won’t get help so quick.”

But in 2017, help came when she was approached by Western Cape government’s department of economic development and tourism and Pick * Pay’s innovative spaza modernisation programme.

Her shop plus two others were chosen for a revamp with up-to-date retail equipment. Her space was expanded from 150m² to 350m², and this was followed by a free three-phase electrical connection provided by the City of Cape Town.

The interior walls were torn down and the roof was replaced. Liwani is now proud to own the only branded spaza shop in Nyanga.

“This establishment shows what can be achieved when society works together to empower people,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos.

The initiative follows the success of a similar model in Gauteng where there have been 14 store modernisations. Two other spaza shops in Cape Town are part of the Pick n Pay Spaza Programme including Nozinga’s market in Gugulethu and Something Nice in Blue Downs.

Retailers Khosi Liwani and her husband, Zongs Liwani outside Ndwamba Market in Nyanga. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

“This programme is proof that there is space for large and small retailers in the modern economy, and shows that we can work together to unlock exciting new opportunities,’ said Pick n Pay’s chief executive officer, Richard van Rensburg.

Liwani’s advice to other entrepreneurs is to be patient while maintaining their passion. “For me, I knew I wanted to grow and now, I am branded with Pick n Pay. There are so many business opportunities in the area, you just need to know what you want and know what you’re doing and you will be able to conquer all.”

She is also proof that big commercial property developments can operate side by side with the township’s established smaller shops.

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