Pick ‘n Pay set to open in Maseru

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MASERU — Sam Mphana, the man who is jointly behind the new Pick ‘n Pay due to be opened in Maseru later this month, is a passionate businessman with vast experience in the hospitality sector.
Mphana is in partnership with Andre Beukes, a local businessman who runs Bensons Butchery in Maseru.
For Mphana the retail business represents a giant leap of faith.
With no experience in running supermarkets it took a lot of faith for Mphana to invest in the new business.
Mphana said he has spent most of his working life in the hospitality sector, a sector vastly different to the new venture.
He spent 29 years in the hospitality industry rising from a humble position of clerk to general manager in 1987.
He held the post until 2007.
He then moved to Lesotho Sun as general manager in 2007 until he finally retired last June as area manager for Sun International in Lesotho.
Mphana joined Sun International hotels in 1980 and worked in various positions within the hotel group.
He has worked at Maseru Sun Cabanas and Lesotho Sun over the past 29 years.
The man speaks with eloquence about his achievements and vision for the new business venture.
“I have 29 years experience in the hotel industry. This was a huge change and as they say change is as good as a holiday,” Mphana said outside the Pioneer Mall which will be their new home later this month.
Mphana said they were really excited when their application for a franchise from Pick ‘n Pay succeeded.
He said they realised there was still an opportunity in the retail business as seen from the multitudes of people who crossed over to Ladybrand, a town about 15 kilometres from the Lesotho border, for their shopping.
“There is still room for one more big retail shop which should meet the demand for the retail around Maseru as seen from the many customers who still cross the border to do some shopping.
“By introducing a good brand such as Pick ‘n Pay in Maseru, we will hopefully help meet their needs. More money will therefore circulate in the country,” he said.
Mphana said Pick ‘n Pay had a good brand in South Africa and hoped to capitalise on that.
“We found ourselves very fortunate when we were awarded the franchise,” Mphana said.
He said the philosophy of Pick ‘n Pay was based on “four legs of the table” which is administration, merchandise, promotion of social responsibility and investing in people.
He said he had for years dreamt of starting a business that would have the capacity to positively change people’s lives.
Mphana said being involved in a big business such as Pick ‘n Pay was a fulfilment of that dream.
He said the supermarket will employ 86 permanent workers.
Mphana said the supermarket will also empower smaller enterprises which could supply the giant shop with goods that are produced locally.
“The standards set by Pick ‘n Pay in terms of quality are high and local farmers can supply the shop with fresh vegetables and this could provide a market for their produce,” said.
He however warned that the supermarket will not accept sub-standard products to safeguard the supermarket’s good name.
Mphana said he believed that entrepreneurs are born — with education only adding the “polishing” to equip them to run their own businesses better.
He said what drove him to invest was his desire to provide for his two sons, aged nine and 12.
He said Basotho must take responsibility to develop the country.
“This is our country and it will only grow if we ourselves take the responsibility to grow it,” Mphana said.
He said the decision to invest in the business was not an easy one.
He said it takes real determination to switch from the comfort zone of a regular paying job to a business.
“Change is always scary,” he said.
“The new mall is a result of co-operation among many local investors. My business partner and I complement each other since we have different skills which will be handy in our business.”
He said his collaboration with Beukes will bring stability in the day-to-day running of the new business.
“We are still learning as Pick ‘n Pay has never been in Maseru before. This is a new turf for us. However, we are positive that things will work out well,” Mphana said.
The Pioneer Mall, which is south of the central business district, is expected to be opened on November 18.

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