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October / November 2008

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There are now Trappers Trading owner-run outlets stores in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Trappers Trading opened their 24th and 25th stores in Kimberley and Wonderboom in Pretoria in September and October.

Apart from their flagship store in Fourways, all the other stores are owned by franchisees. Mark and Grant Ponting, who owns the franchise, used to own five stores, but have sold four of them off to staff members over the past few years.

Trappers re-branded

Franchising is a win-win solution for the store owner as well as the franchisor — as the modern, revamped Trappers Trading group shows, reports NICOL DU TOIT

Durban experienced a cold and unpleasant winter in 1976, and when Rob Topham came upon a consignment of winter coats in the Durban harbour, farmers in the Natal Midlands jumped at the opportunity to purchase the whole bundle at a very favourable price. Thus, Trappers Trading was founded.

The first outlet opened in Pietermaritzburg, selling products like locally made workwear and farm supplies. But it soon became clear that there was a demand for a wider range of products and it wasn’t long before the local Trappers store served most Midlands farmers with a wide range of products.

The first Trappers outlet quickly developed a name for providing the community with reputable outdoor brands at affordable prices — by someone they knew and trusted. This philosophy still holds true today and is the foundation on which the business has been built.

They find the franchise form of ownership very effective. It brings the best of the chain store and individual ownership concepts together, says Mark. “The franchisor assists in finding the right location and establishing the business, provides training and cost effective advertising, while central buying ensures that products can be sourced at competitive prices.”

The franchisees, on the other hand, are in effect owners of their businesses and therefore have personal and financial interest in it. This ensures that service levels and product knowledge at store level are at a higher level than normally experienced in chains.

This recipe has clearly worked for them. Mark says that over the past five years they have grown their business 500%, whilst increasing the number of outlets from 17 to 25.

They have recently decided to refocus the business on a slightly different target market.

Although they will remain loyal to their existing market, they also want to attract more younger and female customers at higher LSM categories. They will therefore start to move to mall locations and have also introduced a strong ladies section, as well as a high tech section.

They have also upgraded their signage and given the stores a more South African feel.

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