Western Cape based family-owned hardware chain, Brights Hardware, has embarked on an innovative mentorship and entrepreneur nurturing project that sees micro hardware stores being opened in shipping containers in low-income areas of Cape Town.
The Container Store initiative that Brights started in collaboration with The Hardware Co. kicked off in 2019, with the first container hardware up and running in Khayelitsha by October 2020. The second container hardware is currently being erected nearby – with completion scheduled for September 2021.
“The first container hardware store is an impressive double storey space created out of two shipping containers stacked on top of each other,” explains Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware store. “The bottom container is 12 metres long and the top is 6 metres, and they are joined by a steel staircase. The lower-level sells building materials and the upstairs container offers smaller electrical and hardware products.”
The Hardware Co. container stores belong to Yanga Njozela, a young entrepreneur who approached Brights Hardware to assist him with setting up his hardware business. Luis says that he met Njozela in 2016 when he opened his construction company. “He asked if I would mentor and support him in this venture and after a few years of building a business relationship and learning the operations and systems, Yanga requested Brights’ assistance to open his own container hardware.
“Yanga purchased the two shipping containers and rented a piece of ground. We assisted him to fully convert and rig out the containers with shelving, computer systems, electrical connections etc. We also provide him all his products at wholesale prices,” explains Luis. “Yanga now also has his own delivery truck to collect stock from the closest Brights Store and is able to quote and supply his customers with the same retail pricing that Brights offers.”
Brights has also assisted Yanga with infrastructure and construction support, IT and computer support, as well as financial terms support as part of their role as entrepreneurial support and mentorship. According to Orlando, Njozela manages all the rest of his business logistics, income and expenditure, profits and cash flow, staffing etc. and is a completely independent business entity.
“We are very grateful for the assistance that Orlando and Brights has afforded us,” says Njozela. “The container hardware has always been a dream of ours with the aim to change the landscape of “informal” businesses in the townships and to empower young people from the communities we operate in.”
“Our vision is to build lives, build communities and build Africa. And the Container Hardware concept has allowed us the opportunity to do just that. We now have a great team of young people working with us and the community have received the hardware store incredibly well, affirming that The Hardware Co. has been able to make quality hardware supplies accessible to the residents of Khayelitsha. We are currently in the process of opening up our second store in Harare, Khayelitsha and are excited about this new venture and our future in the hardware store space.”
For more information contact Yanga Njozela on 084 703 0745 or visit www.thehardwareco.co.za. You can also follow The Hardware Co on Facebook: @thehardwareco as well as Instagram: @buildwith_thehardwareco.