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Supercharging spaza shops

| Economic factors

It was a momentous day for Solly Legae when the doors of his store in Johannesburg’s Diepkloof township reopened for business in February. Once a humble spaza shop, Solly’s Monageng Market had been transformed into a modern community convenience store.

"It looks fantastic. We now have an open-plan store with aisles and shelves. Before we just had a counter in the front of the store."

Transformation of his small 100m² store, opened by his father in 1972, is thanks to an initiative by the Gauteng department of economic development (GDED), backed by Pick n Pay. The first in a pilot project, Legae’s store has been joined by one other with a further three to follow by year-end.

The pilot was born out of discussions held between GDED minister Lebogang Maile, and retailers, says GDED chief information officer Bongani Nkosi.

Pick n Pay took up the challenge. "We wanted to pursue the idea that a big national retailer can work with a small retailer to build entrepreneurship and local communities," says David North, Pick n Pay’s head of group strategy & corporate affairs.

Legae has only praise for its assistance. "I have gained a huge amount of management and merchandising expertise from Pick n Pay," he says.

The retailer has a few other spaza shop conversions planned. "Our IT division is closely involved in equipping stores with modern systems," says North. "We also work with suppliers to have refrigeration equipment installed."

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