‘It’s all a­bout the com­mu­ni­ty’

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Briewe | Letters -

Graaff-rei­net Su­pa Quick o­wes its sus­tai­ned success to deep roots within the com­mu­ni­ty with a rich his­to­ry da­ting back to 1974.

S­te­ve Jobs said that "G­re­at t­hings in bu­si­ness are ne­ver do­ne by one per­son. They are do­ne by a te­am of pe­op­le".

Graaff-rei­net Su­pa Quick is cer­tain­ly a tes­ta­ment to the words of this g­re­at man. In 1974 - Kal­lie Put­ter - Da­wie Put­ter's fat­her, boug­ht Graaff-rei­net Ty­re Ser­vi­ces from Hec­tor Tay­lor-free­me, thus laying the foun­da­ti­ons for w­hat re­mains a fa­mi­ly-o­w­ned bu­si­ness in the bus­t­ling town of Graaff-rei­net.

Da­wie can re­mem­ber as a school­boy hel­ping his fat­her cle­an out the pre­mi­ses in a bid to meet his ri­gorous stan­dards. "My dad was a bit of a per­fecti­o­nist, I sup­po­se," he says. This de­di­ca­ti­on and dis­ci­pli­ne form one of the pil­lars of a cu­s­to­mer-fo­cu­sed bu­si­ness that the Put­ters ha­ve built up o­ver the de­ca­des.

Da­wie's brot­her, Wil­lie, and his Aus­tra­li­an wi­fe Lin­nea, then took o­ver the bu­si­ness from Kal­lie in 1977, as they re­tur­ned from tra­ve­ling se­ver­al con­ti­nents and their last out­post, Aus­tra­lia.

Wil­lie and Lin­nea ma­de the per­fect te­am, with Lin­nea hand­ling ad­mi­nis­tra­ti­on and the in­ten­se­ly practi­cal Wil­lie ma­king su­re that the shop floor ran smoothly. The Graaff­rei­net com­mu­ni­ty soon fell in lo­ve with this dy­n­a­mic and ple­a­sant cou­ple. Wil­lie soon be­ca­me fa­mous for his "can do a­ny­thing" a­bi­li­ties. He e­ven ma­nu­fac­tu­red bat­te­ries on the pre­mi­ses!

Graaff-rei­net Ty­re Ser­vi­ces be­ca­me one of the first 15 Su­pa Quick fran­chi­ses in 1986 un­der Wil­lie and Linn's le­a­ders­hip. Su­pa Quick was the first ty­re fran­chi­se in the coun­try, and it ga­ve this in­de­pen­dent bu­si­ness access to gre­at­ly in­cre­a­sed buying po­wer, top-qua­li­ty pro­ducts, pri­ce, pro­fes­si­o­nal mar­ke­ting and ex­per­ti­se - thus com­ple­menting the fa­mi­ly's com­mit­ment to ser­vi­ce ex­cel­len­ce, with the be­st practi­ces and la­test techni­cal know-how.

Wil­lie and Linn sold the bu­si­ness to Da­wie and his wi­fe A­vril­le in 1998, to pur­sue their dre­am of sai­ling a­round the wor­ld.

They are now hap­pi­ly re­ti­red in Knys­na. Da­wie says, "Cu­sto­mers still in­qui­re a­bout them af­ter 20 y­e­ars... an in­di­ca­ti­on of the es­teem in which they we­re held! Wil­lie and Linn are both out­going pe­op­le who built strong links with the com­mu­ni­ty - and that's a tra­di­ti­on I ha­ve main­tai­ned sin­ce I took o­ver from them in 1998.

This is a small com­mu­ni­ty e­ven though it is spre­ad out o­ver a lar­ge a­rea, and so to be success­ful, you ha­ve to play a po­si­ti­ve ro­le in all fa­cets of its li­fe."

Da­wie re­mains as­si­du­ous in main­tai­ning and ex­pan­ding the bu­si­ness's links with the com­mu­ni­ty. This ta­kes the form of sup­por­ting and spon­so­ring the lo­cal schools, sports clubs and cul­tu­ral e­vents. He re­mains acti­ve in pro­vi­ding as­sis­tan­ce with stra­te­gic plan­ning, u­sing the skills gai­ned in his 20 y­e­ars in the cor­po­ra­te wor­ld.

"Com­mu­ni­ty li­fe is of ul­ti­ma­te im­por­tan­ce to me, I lo­ve the pe­op­le of Graaff-rei­net and they re­main a pri­o­ri­ty to me. Su­pa Quick be­lie­ves in sup­por­ting lo­cal bu­si­nes­ses. E­very cent spent in Graaff-rei­net con­tri­bu­tes to the wel­l­being of our lo­cal e­co­nomy, which is very im­por­tant to me".

"I know my cu­sto­mers, and they know me. It's mo­re than just bu­si­ness, it is a­bout re­la­ti­ons­hips", he adds. W­het­her one bumps in­to Da­wie on a moun­tain bi­ke ri­de, on the si­de of a sports field, or in the au­dien­ce at a pro­ducti­on, his ca­re and com­pas­si­on for the com­mu­ni­ty is e­vi­dent in his at­ten­ti­on to de­tail and ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on for tho­se a­round him.

Ex­cep­ti­o­nal ser­vi­ce me­ans ex­cep­ti­o­nal staff

Da­wie al­so be­lie­ves in doing bu­si­ness in such a way as to sup­port the lo­cal e­co­nomy. He ma­kes a point of buying w­ha­te­ver he can lo­cal­ly, and on­ly sour­ces goods from el­se­w­he­re if the­re is no al­ter­na­ti­ve. He al­so en­coura­ges his clients to do the sa­me.

The key to get­ting lo­cal pe­op­le, in­clu­ding the lar­ge far­ming com­mu­ni­ty, to sup­port lo­cal bu­si­nes­ses, is to en­s­u­re they de­li­ver ex­cep­ti­o­nal ser­vi­ce. Being part of a small, tig­ht­ly-knit com­mu­ni­ty al­so me­ans that the bu­si­ness re­al­ly g­oes the ex­tra mi­le for its clients. A re­cent ex­am­ple was a la­te call from a client w­ho­se hus­band had to at­tend a meet­ing in Port E­li­za­beth the next mor­ning. His car had a flat and he was re­co­ve­ring from an o­pe­ra­ti­on and could not chan­ge it.

Da­wie ma­de an e­ar­ly-mor­ning call to pick up the ty­re and fit the spa­re, so the client could get to the of­fi­ce, and then had the re­pai­red ty­re fit­ted back on­to the car in ti­me for him to le­a­ve for his meet­ing.

As his wi­fe pos­ted her Fa­ce­book pa­ge: "It's ser­vi­ce li­ke this that ma­kes one gra­te­ful to li­ve in such a small com­mu­ni­ty." Da­wie knows most pe­op­le in Graaff-rei­net. He shows re­al in­te­rest and con­cern for tho­se a­round him and is well lo­ved by the com­mu­ni­ty that me­ans so much to him.

Da­wie in­sis­ts, ho­we­ver, that this kind of ser­vi­ce, ba­sed on de­li­ve­ring true va­lue to cu­sto­mers, is on­ly pos­si­ble if you ha­ve top-notch staff. He at­tri­bu­tes much of the bu­si­ness's success to the fact that most mem­bers of his 16-strong staff ha­ve been with the com­pa­ny for ma­ny y­e­ars. Most of their staff ha­ve mo­re than 15 y­e­ars' ser­vi­ce and Su­pa Quick has seen staff mem­bers re­ti­re from the bu­si­ness af­ter their li­fe's work.

This is a tes­ti­mo­ny to the success­ful fa­mi­ly cul­tu­re which Su­pa Quick tre­a­su­res. Da­wie speaks fond­ly of Ma­na­ger Ti­aan Holtz­hau­zen; Sa­les Te­am Le­a­der Fa­reed A­ba­der; Ge­ne­ral Sa­les and F­leet Ma­na­ger Es­mond Heugh; and Pe­trus Jan­tjies his long­stan­ding and fait­hful Floor and Sa­les su­per­vis­or.

"If your staff is enga­ged and know their bu­si­ness, you will ha­ve hap­py cu­sto­mers - they are two si­des of the sa­me coin," he says. "A bu­si­ness needs to be pro­per­ly run and ha­ve the rig­ht ex­per­ti­se but, in the end, it all co­mes do­wn to your pe­op­le. We ha­ve been bles­sed with good pe­op­le."

As Sam Watson on­ce said, "We're all wor­king to­get­her; that's the se­cret!" The Graaff-rei­net com­mu­ni­ty has of­ten en­du­red dif­fi­cult ti­mes of con­straints and droug­ht.

The cur­rent re­ces­si­on and af­ter­math of a very se­ri­ous droug­ht is no ex­cep­ti­on. Su­pa Quick has al­ways been the­re to ser­ve and sup­port this com­mu­ni­ty through thick and thin.

"We re­ly on each ot­her for sup­port through dif­fi­cult ti­mes. By faith and en­du­ran­ce, we will see this pe­ri­od through as well." Su­pa Quick pro­vi­des an ex­ten­si­ve pro­duct and ser­vi­ce ran­ge to the com­mu­ni­ty.

A sum­ma­ry of the pro­duct ran­ge is a­vai­la­ble on their web­si­te www. graaff­rei­net­su­pa­quick.co.za

Af­ter hours ser­vi­ces and sup­port for truck and pas­sen­ger vehi­cles are pro­vi­ded all y­e­ar round. The e­mer­gen­cy num­ber is 079 584 8324 (af­ter hours on­ly).

Wa­tch the press and en­qui­re in s­to­re for cra­zy spe­ci­als this month.

Wil­lie and Lin­nea P­üt­ter.

Da­wie P­üt­ter, the o­w­ner of Su­pa­quick Graaff-rei­net.

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