Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Cardiff, Wales and my parents moved to South Africa just after I was born. I grew up in Nelspruit, bordering the Kruger National Park and now live in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. My hobbies include endurance sports such as long-distance running (I recently completed my third 86.7km Comrades Marathon) road cycling, mountain biking and BMX. I love fishing and hiking too.
Walk us through your retail journey to date
I started in the retail industry right after I finished high school in 1996. My mother in law was a buyer at SPAR Lowveld and she managed to get me a position as a retail specialist for an agency that solely focused on SPAR. In 1999, an opportunity arose for trainee managers with the Peter Chapman Group, which owned five stores at the time. I applied and was accepted into a group of four trainees. Out of the four, only one would be offered a position. We worked full shifts for a period of six months and were trained in all areas of retail from cleaning storerooms and fridges to merchandising, baking, produce management, cooking, manning the tills, placing orders, doing cashups and data capturing. After the training, a position opened for a Store Manager in Sabie, Mpumalanga and I was selected to go and run the store. This is when my retail career really began.
Tell us about your current position
I am currently the General Manager of Glenacres SUPERSPAR in Kempton Park, which is owned by Anthis Maouris and Spiros Koutromanous. I took over the management of the store in 2011 when I was transferred from Riverside SUPERSPAR in Nelspruit to help renovate and manage Glenacres. I also manage the shopping centre that belongs to the owners of the store.
What does your job entail?
We trade from 6:30 to 20:00, seven days a week. I have a wonderful team of very experienced managers in all departments of the store. Most of my day is spent managing the team. I am very active in all aspects of the business with a main focus on change and innovation. I am also responsible for all administrative functions and have oversight of the finances. Service is and will always be a priority with a strong focus on a fresh offering.
What are the key challenges of your role?
One of the greatest challenges I face is managing rising expenses such as electricity and labour costs in an unstable economy. We also have 12 opposition retail stores within a 5km radius so we need to stay on top of our game at all times.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have a passion for people and find it very rewarding to see employees grow from general assistants into experienced department managers. It is also rewarding to achieve the required budgets and maintain strong profits.
Are you involved in any sponsorship activities?
I have always been very active with the community. We support our local schools, animal shelters, a few rehab centres and local orphanages.
What is the secret to your success?
I have a passion for people, a passion for numbers and a strong passion for food. I constantly try to keep ahead of the latest retail trends.
How do you see the future for yourself?
I have a dream of owning my own store in the future, something I have always worked towards.
This story was first published in issue 3 2017 of our quarterly magazine, Contact International.
To read more stories from this edition, follow this link.