Lufefe Nomjana’s approach to healthy eating was met with a contract to supply Spar and assistance from the supermarket chain to help him start his own bakery.
After being contracted as a supplier a year ago, he now runs an organic bakery from his Khayelitsha-based business, Espinaca Innovations.
Nomjana is a keen baker who graduated from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurial Development.
Two years ago he started baking and selling spinach bread and muffins from his shack in Harare.
Today he supplies Spar in Khayelitsha with dozens of spinach bread and other baked products, with a demand for over a 100 baked goods per day.
Thanks to the Spar contract Espinaca Innovations’ turnover has jumped from R2 000 per month when he started in June 2012 to R16 000 per month this year.
Because of this he was able to buy his first bakery with an industrial oven, a dough mixture and an automatic dough raiser included – all worth R125 000.
He says having his own premises will enable him to expand his business to other areas of Cape Town.
“With the help of my wife, I used to bake 10 loaves of bread a day and a few muffins. I’d take my bicycle and start trading door-to-door,” he says.
He soon realised that he needed to start baking other products, such as onion rusks and spinach breadsticks.
Nomjana says one of his first options was to approach Spar in Khayelitsha with an idea to become a supplier.
Armed with only a few samples of his products, his company registration documents and a business plan, Nomjana was able to convince the retailer to assist him in opening an express bakery offering healthy baked products for the local market.
He says he set up an appointment to present his business plan and his samples to the store’s management.
A day after his presentation he was contracted as a supplier, where he started off small by only supplying ten loaves of bread each day.
To ensure that Espinaca Innovations was able to meet the conditions stipulated in the contract, the store arranged for the business to use Spar’s premises and offered Nomjana a discount on some of his goods’ key ingredients.
“Thanks to Spar’s help, I was able to meet my target of (supplying) at least 50 loaves of bread and 160 muffins per day,” says Nomjana.
Today the business operates in one of the township’s busiest business hubs on Spine Road and employs three people.
“We now have a demand that has doubled many times during the last few months.
Leading up to the launch I was able to gain practical management, trading and marketing experience from the Spar managing team to ensure that I deliver excellently as a supplier,” says Nomjana.
He says he was also mentored by Khayelitsha Spar’s owner Abel Mponda throughout the duration of the contract.
Privilege Mubvumba, senior accountant with Spar in Khayelitsha, says the store’s staff was impressed by Nomjana’s ability to deliver his products efficiently and timeously.
“His green-solution products are some of the first that the store has ever allowed on its shelves.
Today the products are in high demand.
As a supplier Espinaca Innovations offered Spar a chance to deliver existing healthy solutions to our customers,” he says.
He adds that the store’s staff collaborates with both big and small suppliers to ensure a steady delivery on all products.
Meanwhile Nomjana says his business is operational and he has demands pouring in from restaurants and other businesses in his area.
“The partnership with Spar has inspired my business to keep up with the required industry health standards. I now plan to train my staff on operating the new equipment and serving customers well,” he says.