Celebrating 30 years: How Food Lover’s grew into SA’s largest privately-owned retailer
The family-owned group has steadily grown to include popular grocery retailer Food Lover’s Market, convenience chain FreshStop at Caltex, import and export company FVC International, liquor chains Diamond Discount Liquor and Market Liquors, and artisan coffee brand Seattle Coffee Company.
Brothers Brian and Mike Coppin opened Fruit & Veg City in Access Park, Cape Town in 1993, stripping, painting and merchandising the store themselves with the help of friends and family.
From opening a single store with a team of six colleagues, the Food Lover’s Market Group now boasts 17,000 team members across the entire business. Some early employees are still working in the business, having grown into other roles as the company expanded.
“This 30-year milestone offers us a great opportunity to reflect on our history as a business and recognise the many people who have been part of our success over the past 30 years,” says Brian Coppin, CEO of the Food Lover’s Market Group.
“Few people remember the first steps of starting a business, but it feels like yesterday to us. We remember the thrill of working alongside family, new friends and partners to open that first store in Access Park in Cape Town. We held onto our dream, often wondering if we would achieve what we set out to do, but we never gave up.”
After the first Fruit & Veg City store launched in 1993, the footprint steadily grew and by 2004 the retailer had expanded to 60 stores nationwide. The following year Fruit & Veg City rebranded to Food Lover’s Market, with the first store opening in Hillfox, Johannesburg. In 2009, the group established its forecourt retail brand FreshStop at Caltex service stations. A year later, Food Lover’s Market launched the first Food Lover’s Eatery store, a fresh food emporium designed to offer meals on the go.
The next few years would see the group acquire Daimond’s Discount Liquor and Seattle Coffee Company in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
In 2016, the growing Food Lover’s Market Group attracted investment from emerging market investor Actis, who acquired a minority stake in the business. In the years following, Food Lover’s would significantly expand its focus beyond fresh produce into general grocery retail.
Courtesy of Bizcommunity – read full article here.