Take n Pay Foodtown: Giving Shoppers What They Want

Feb 15, 2019

Take n Pay Food Town strives to deliver shoppers the right product at the best price in an environment that feels like home. Spend a minute getting to know 2019 IGA South Africa International Retailer of the Year Ismail Salajee.

How did you get started?

Take n Pay was established 20 years ago in November 1998 in the heart of Chatsworth, KZN, where the founders saw an opportunity to cater to the local community. Inspired in part by the many farmers and informal traders selling their products and goods in the area at the market, we had an opportunity to reach these customers who would do their grocery shopping whenever they visited the market. At the time, the only other close supermarket was in the Chatsworth Centre, which is 1.5 km away.

In 2010, I took over the business. The store underwent a massive revamp in 2013 to accommodate the growing client base. We increased our tills from 16 to 30 lanes to accommodate the thousands of monthly shoppers. Currently, Take n Pay Food Town Hyper has two stores under its umbrella—including the award winning Amanzimtoti store—and there are plans afoot to increase this number in the near future. We have been IGA since 2012.

Tell us about your community and how you have stayed competitive.

Take n Pay Food Town Hyper in Chatsworth offers its loyal customers 3,000 square meters of shopping space, with an additional 3,000 square meter warehouse. With a huge range of offerings and service departments, including butchery, bakery, fresh produce, seafood department, and deli all under one roof, it's a one-stop-shop for the customer.

Located in a close-knit community of mainly lower and middle income brackets, our store caters to our customers with low prices and convenience, giving them more value for their money. Because our marketing platform reaches people of all areas, we sometimes get requests from customers to open up stores in other provinces.

To stay competitive, we do not miss an occasion to celebrate with our customers. The highlight of the year is our car giveaway, a grand event where we give away a car to one of our lucky customers in style at a gala dinner. We started the car giveaway competition four years ago, where we gave away one car every year. Our customers look forward to this every year, and they have to shop to get a chance to win. This year, they have three chances to win, as we will be giving away three cars to three lucky customers.

Our customers also look forward to our annual Family Fun day, which is especially for our customers, their kids, and suppliers. Our suppliers also get to interact with our customers and give away a lot of freebies.

We advertise weekly in the local newspaper, which is distributed free to the public. We are constantly interacting with our valued customers on social media, advertising the many competitions that we run, giving away pampering sessions, home appliances, and many more items.

What is your philosophy on retailing, customer service, and management? 

Our philosophy is to give the customer what they want. We give them the best quality products and know that they will come back for them.

We focus on knowing, caring, and understanding our shoppers and the community that supports us, by always providing them with the right product and the best price in an environment that they feel comfortable and at home with.

We have internal control systems that consist of policies and procedures designed to provide management with a reasonable assurance that the company achieves its goals and objectives in terms of financial reporting, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, as well as effectiveness and efficiency of operation.

What makes your store unique and special?

We are a destination store, known as being family- and community-orientated, where families come to shop together. We have a personal relationship with our customers.

Our customers look forward to our weekly specials for fresh products at a super low price, as well as the many competitions—which is our way of giving back to our customers for their phenomenal support.

How do you show your shoppers that you are local? 

We are an independent, community-serving retail store that gives back to our community through initiatives for those who need it most, benefiting the very people who shop at our stores. Community involvement is an important to us. We support local markets and services providers wherever possible.

How are you concentrating on fresh?

We try our best to buy directly from farmers to get the product quicker to the customer. We have a market day every week to promote our fresh foods.

How does IGA help you compete?

We look to IGA often for innovation and exciting new ideas to take to market.  As an independent without a large branding/marketing team, we need to develop ideas that differentiate us from the corporate retailers, and we are able to get these ideas and programs from other international IGA members. I would say we benefit most from marketing ideas, which we adapt to suit our local market.

What does being an IGA International Retailer of the Year mean to you? 

It means a lot to me as an independent store to be recognised on an international platform. The opportunity allows me to benefit from the knowledge I gain from international trends, which I will bring back to the store and the consumer.

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