When we first arrived in Australia 18 years ago with our three year old daughter, we craved Biltong and Grapetizer. So we would go from one side of Melbourne to the other looking for these two things. We found Biltong at the one end and Grapetizer at the other for $5.00 a can – and still bought it.
Bino, my husband, and I were chatting one night after our adventures and wondered why there was no shop that sells all South African products. We thought maybe we should open one but that would mean risking everything we had.
We took the first step and put an advert in the local paper and asked if we opened a shop what would people like to be able to get from it – the response was phenomenal. We decided to take the risk and in 2001 a year after our son was born the first South African shop was born.
Our children had a lot of fun in the first shop as did we, together with lots of headaches. Often long lost friends, people just wanting to talk Afrikaans or people who just wanted to chat about South Africa and their journey to Australia would stop in the shop isles for hours and chat. It was then that we decided if we opened another shop it would have to have a restaurant so people were at least able to chat while having a cup of coffee or good old South African/Portuguese food.
Two years later we decided to open our second shop, the same month we found out we were expecting our third child – not very well timed, but all worked out very well.
We love working at our shops and chatting to our customers and have often had customers burst into tears when simply seeing all the goodies or hearing Afrikaans.
We have achieved what we set out to do – bringing a little bit of South Africa to Australia and offering a vast range of products at prices that are affordable.