Mica And Nedbank: Partners In Success
Gerard de Boer joined his father's hardware store in 1998. Solomons Mica Home Warehouse in Bethlehem, Free State was launched 20 years earlier and their first electronic sale was through Nedbank.
Before the hardware store acquired its current premises with #MakeItWithSolomonsMica plastered behind the front desk, Solomons Mica was a small shop downtown with limited parking for its customers. Today, the store boasts enough space to house various departments including a sports section, a décor department and a garden division.
"Our biggest range of products is our hardware, that's the core of our business," says Gerard. "The everyday products that the customer needs in and around the house like paint, power tools and general hardware. We try to call it a one-stop shop to make sure we have everything a customer needs."
All-in-one home DIY solution
The biggest challenge for the business is to have the right product at the right price in the right quantities, and to be on top of what's happening in the market – to know what product is in high demand and to have it available.
I think what sets the Mica brand apart from our competitors is that we are a well-established recognised brand that's come a long way.
I think Mica has a lot of the softer side of the hardware industry, as it also appeals to women, so it's for the whole family to complete from building to finishing touches in your home.
A firm support structure
Mica gives you the edge to market your product to a wider customer base and also with in-store development based on what's happening in the marketplace.
At Solomons Mica, our staff is the most important element. They are the brand ambassadors facing the customer every day. So we're continuously doing in-house product training with the support of Mica head office.
Becoming a successful franchisee
Go and work at a franchise just to get the feel of it. I would also suggest talking to other owners and getting their advice and insight on the right approach when thinking of buying your own franchise.
Related: (Watch) Franchises Help Create Jobs
Looking ahead to the future
My plans for the future include expanding this store, building our ranges and also opening another two or three stores to support the whole structure; to build it further. There are a lot of gaps in the Free State for other stores in the Mica brand.
The ideal banking partner
This business was started with a partnership with Nedbank. When my father needed a loan to start the business, he went to Nedbank.
The Nedbank Business Programme is also working very well for us with our bookkeeping to import all the statements directly into Pastel, so it's very efficient for us.
The reason why I would recommend Nedbank, is in my eyes, it's a small family relationship I've got with my brand manager. Whenever there's a problem I go and call him and then immediately, he helps and sorts it out for us.