Most business have come and gone in the copper mining town of Selebi Phikwe citing low buying power as the reason for their collapse.

BUSSINESS MINDED: Mabengano (centre) with her junior managers

The latest to bite the dust was Selebi-Phikwe Co-operative supermarket which was the backbone of the town’s retail industry. The arrival of chain stores have been attributed to the collapse of the supermarket as it faced stiff competition.
Daily Needs supermarket however has defied the odds stacked against smaller retailers in the mining town and faced the hostile business environment with vigor and determination. According to the Managing Director of the supermarket Queen Mabengano they opened the doors in September 2006 and they have not looked back since then. “The competition was and is still tough and when we opened, Co-op was still the town’s preferred supermarket,” she said.

Mabengano said that most of Phikwe residents were more associated with Co-op supermarket and that it was difficult to shift the paradigm. He said the arrival of Choppies and Pick and Pay intensified the competition in a limited buying power environment “and we had to devise ways of cementing our place”.

Mabengano said the first thing they did was to acknowledge and accept that the big players in the industry had arrived but decided to come up with a way of retaining clients as well as attracting new ones without losing focus.
She disclosed that most of the small businesses collapsed because instead of coming up with new plans they moaned and groaned about the arrival of the chain stores. The Daily Needs boss said that their main customers are the working-class members of society who take advantage of the store’s proximity  to the road and out of the buzz of the town centre. “They throng the store especially after working hours and we look forward to good business every evening. The business has been consistent for years and we have managed to employ 40 people,” she said.

Mabengano said the store buys most of its stock especially fresh produce from the local suppliers. She further revealed that they have started refurbishing and rebranding the store to be in line with the current trends and to attract customers
The shop has been involved in community events and this was indicated by the awards they received from the vision 2016 council, Botswana National Sports Council and the Selebi-Phikwe Town Council.

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