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April 2005

Retailer showcase:

Why Sege Sport is successful

  • Anton Momberg believes the owner must be on the floor and can’t afford to spend any time in an office, even if it has a view of the shop floor. This is why he does not even have an office. People can meet with him at the counter, where he is always available to be approached by a customer ... and, as we all know and sometimes try to ignore, most people wish to speak to the person they perceive as the boss, especially if they regard their purchase as being very important to them … which is also almost always.

  • Momberg believes in keeping statistics and analysing it to get the best out of his shop. He can answer very detailed questions, for instance, how many shoppers you can expect to have in the shop at any one time at a certain hour of the day, on a certain day of the week, on a certain week of the month, in a certain month of the year. He accumulated the statistics over many years and can make incredibly accurate predictions. Planning becomes relatively easy and he knows exactly when to bring in temporary staff on a weekly basis, or over holiday periods such as Christmas time. He can therefore run his shop very cost efficiently.

  • A small area of his floor space is occupied with school clothing for a number of schools in the immediate vicinity. He keeps this product line not only for the profitability thereof, but even more to draw young people to his shop. He can therefore impress them from a young age as a trustworthy and knowledgeable shopkeeper. A fair percentage of young people continue to live in the area where he operates, even after moving out of their parents’ homes. He therefore creates a life-long customer base, who in turn will bring their children to his shop. He believes very strongly that children should be treated with the same respect and dignity as adults.

  • Momberg also believes that you should offer a full backup service and therefore provides a 45-minute racket stringing service and knocks in cricket bats on the shop floor. He also provides a trophy service and apart from stocking a number of them, he provides a twelve-hour engraving service.

  • Success against all odds

    For the past 25 years Sege Sport flourished in a very tough retail environment for independent inner-city and suburban sports retailers — they not only saw consumers moving to malls, but had to contend with large sports retail chains making the most of their mall positions. NICOL DU TOIT asked Anton and Sannie Momberg how they managed to grow their suburban retail store under these trying circumstances

    Years ago this April, Joanie Strauss founded Sege Sports in Kuilsriver. Until Anton and Sannie Momberg bought the shop nine years later, it mainly stocked sportswear. But, the Mombergs were quick to realise that there was a need for an outlet selling sports equipment as well and that the equipment would lend authenticity to the sportswear. They therefore made sports equipment an important product category in the shop.

    Anton was regional manager for West Bank in Johannesburg for a number of years when he — rather abrubtly — decided that he had had enough of the rat race. He felt that he was putting in an enormous amount of overtime, for which he had to sacrifice his family life, but got no reward. He bought a liquor outlet in the Johannesburg area and gathered some very useful retail knowledge, which came in very handy at a later stage in Sege Sport.

    Like many Gautengers, the Mombergs always had a yearning to live close to the sea. After a few years in the liquor trade, they decided to combine a holiday travelling down the coast from Kwa-Zulu/Natal to the Western Cape with looking at what was available on the property market. When they reached Gordon’s Bay they saw what they wanted, and when the owner accepted what they thought was quite a low offer, they considered that as a sign to move down permanently. Their oldest son also wanted to enroll at the University of Stellenbosch, which prompted them to sell their business in Johannesburg and buy Sege Sport in Kuilsriver.

    It was not the best of times to buy an independent retail store in a suburban shopping area. Round about that time, independent sport retailers in the city and suburban areas in South Africa began having a tough time fighting the growing consumer movement towards huge shopping malls - and the growth of sports retail chains that made the most of their positions in the malls.

    It is therefore exceptional to find a sports retail shop which has not only survived, but flourished, in that environment.

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