Being involved with the communities our stores serve has always been an important consideration for us; this will never change. Our involvement with these communities begins when we set up a new store and it develops from there. This article lists some of the things we already do and makes the point that there is always room for improvement.

Community services offered by OBC stores

Helping to address the unemployment problem

  • Before we open a new store, we hire locals and train them for the various positions our franchisees need to fill. On an ongoing basis, we offer permanent employment and regular refresher training. This provides previously unemployed individuals, primarily youths, with permanent employment and an opportunity to build an exciting career in retail for themselves.

Offering access to world-class retail shopping

  • Our stores offer the surrounding communities access to a wide range of quality food items in an attractive environment right at their doorstep. Our customers also appreciate that we offer value for money and excellent service.

Operating in-store competitions

  • We arrange exciting competitions where our customers can win prizes ranging from a motorcar to airtime. This is often done with the support of our suppliers and is much appreciated by our customers.

Offering various value-adds

  • Participating stores offer customers a growing number of value-adds. Examples are in-store access to a Net 1 pension machine and the OBC Club Savings Card. The range of services we offer club members is constantly evolving.

Supporting community initiatives

  • Many of our franchisees support worthy causes within their communities. This includes donations of food hampers etc. to old age homes, orphanages etc. as well as financial contributions.

Suggestions for additional community services

  • The above may sound Impressive but, as we said in the opening paragraph, there is always room for improvement.
    We are convinced that with the help of our franchisees, we can support communities in a manner they will truly appreciate. This is in keeping with our slogan “giving you more, and more…”
  • To truly establish yourself within your local community, you need to demonstrate that you understand their needs and truly want to make a contribution. You can do that by becoming involved in activities that occupy the hearts and minds of members of the local community but be warned. Any such involvement must be genuine and sustained. Communities are quick to spot a fake and might even punish the perpetrator. Some examples of worthwhile initiatives follow.

    • Supporting worthy causes, not only with donations but also by volunteering your time.
    • Establishing contact with local schools. This could provide various avenues of exposure for your store and the brand. Examples are:
    • Giving talks to learners on the topic of starting and operating a small business. To optimise the impact, you could offer members of your audience a special experience.
    • Offer ten to twelve of the most attentive listeners a guided tour through your store. On the day, emphasis range, hygiene, cleanliness and competitive pricing. End the event with a snack and cold drink.
    • Should you wish to implement this idea, you would obviously schedule it for a quiet trading day. You would also need to provide transport. Best to simply book a taxi.

Arranging this would make you a talking point at the school concerned and in the learners’ households. The resulting exposure would make it worthwhile.

  • Supportingtheschool’ssportsteam.You could, for example, sponsor kit which would include OBC-branded t-shirts.
  • Offering an annual prize for the best- performing learner.
  • Supporting the school’s theatre group. You could offer to put up a poster announcing a forthcoming event in your store. You could even sell tickets on the organiser’s behalf. Should you go this route, don’t ignore CI constraints.
  • Keeping abreast of community-based events by monitoring announcements in community newspapers or radio stations. Options for involvement would be similar to those outlined in the previous bullet points.
  • Joining a local business organisation. This could provide useful exposure but be careful not to accept a position that would take up an inordinate amount of your time.
  • Using local service providers as far as possible. This should be subject to guarantees that quality and cost-effectiveness aren’t compromised.

The above should provide ample food for thought. Should you have additional ideas along these lines, we’d like to hear them. Let’s learn from each other, that’s what a franchise is all about.