Midas, the flagship franchise of the family, is a retail store designed around the needs of any vehicle owner, focusing on various product ranges, from motor parts and accessories through to lifestyle equipment. There are over 300 franchised outlets in Southern Africa, including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The mechanism of distribution to owner managed retail stores continues to be the most successful and efficient. the equity-building menu for the brand is a combination of print media, online presences, sponsorships, radio and TV campaigns with the return on investment being increased member sales.
In addition 25 million seasonal brochures are produced and distributed every year to drive consumer feet into the stores and increase franchise retail sales. A key differentiator for the Midas stores is a focus on quality product, from both the global brands and the Groups’ own private label brands. This allows the Midas franchise network to offer countrywide guarantees against manufacturers’ defects on all product it sells.
The year was 2007 and Leani Havenga was driving her battered VW Beetle around the Steelpoort area in Mpumalanga. Her aim was to drop off flyers at as many of the informal roadside mechanics – known as ‘tree mechanics’ – she could find so as to promote her new motor spares business.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Leani is the proud owner of one of the most successful auto aftermarket outlets in South Africa, with her 1 Stop Midas store recently being named as the 2018 Franchise of the Year winner across the entire Midas group. And, eleven years on, many of those original ‘tree mechanics’ continue to be her customers.
Both school teachers by profession, Leani and her husband Tallies moved to the area in 2006 and Tallies opened a
small independent (non-franchised) spares shop in nearby Burgersfort. Leani continued teaching, but was determined to forge her own path and during 2007 she opened her own independent outlet in Steelpoort.
“It was tough. Customers would see me, a woman, and ask to see ‘the boss’. So I had to learn the spares business quickly,” she says.
There’s still a strong female presence at 1 Stop Midas Steelport. Four of the five sales staff are women and one of them, Germina Nkosi, is the longest-serving employee with 11 years’ service. “She knows her stuff; she’s the ‘Mama of Spares’ and the guys can’t compete with her,” Leani observes.
After many years operating as independents, the Steelpoort and Burgersport stores joined the Midas franchise network in 2015 and 2016 respectively. “I would advise any independent to join. It’s worth it.” states Leani. “Midas is a big, well-known brand name that helps to attract customers. The royalties are affordable and we get good support.” Tallies agrees. “The brand has great credibility. Being a Midas franchise also means you get better prices from suppliers, and customers benefit from that.”
Although the husband-and-wife team work about 15km apart, they talk constantly during the working day and support each other. But, laughs Tallies, they do limit the ‘motor spares chat’ at home. And what of the future? “I want to get bigger and better,” says Leani. “To do that you must be honest and give good service. People must believe in you.”