Holding a BCom (Stellenbosch) and an MBL from the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership, Herman Kitshoff has worked at corporate companies such as SAB-Miller and ABI before taking the business ‘bull’ by the horns. “I started out as an entrepreneur in 2002 in Gaborone, Botswana, with my first Cash Crusaders store. I still own it,” reminisces Kitshoff, who was employed by a JSE-listed company in Botswana at the time. Kitshoff realised that there is no business in Gaborone which adopted the Cash Crusaders model. He subsequently made contact with the franchisor and decided to buy the rights to open and operate a Cash Crusaders store in Botswana. “We only opened the first store in Gaborone a year later as we waited for the best possible location to become available. Our two stores in Bloemfontein are both 11 years old and we have owned them for the last six years.”
The Cash Crusaders franchise head office is based in Cape Town with distribution centres located in Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. Kitshoff’s office is based in Bloemfontein but he has the following stores: two in Gaborone, a store in Mafikeng, Secunda, and Bloemfontein, and two stores in Grahamstown. He has 100% ownership of two stores and has a 50% shareholding in the remaining five stores. As much as he enjoys being an entrepreneur, Kitshoff holds his family just as dear. His wife is also involved in the business as well as his brother and sister-in-law, Jako and Cathy Moolman. “Jako and Cathy are partners in some of the businesses and they have become trusted and loved family with whom we have a very special bond,” he explains.
Diverse business offering
The business has three profit centres, which allow for customer interaction in the following ways: The stores sell a wide range of competitively priced new goods of which the bulk is sourced, branded and serviced by the Cash Crusaders warehouse. This stock includes LCD /plasma televisions, kitchen appliances, jewellery, tools, games, HI-FI and DJ equipment, musical instruments, car audio etc. In addition to this, the stores sell a range of quality second-hand goods at bargain prices, including all the above-mentioned categories as well as sports and outdoor goods. “All our goods are guaranteed according to the new Consumer Protection Act,” Kitshoff adds.
Cash Crusaders’ also offers a unique short-term secured credit facility (Suspensive Security Buy), which allows customers to take out a short-term loan using an item that belongs to him / her as security. No application forms are required and no approval is needed as the customer cannot be blacklisted. “We are registered with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) and operate under their strict requirements.”
According to Kitshoff, his Bloemfontein stores have exceptionally good buyers. If any member of the public wants to sell items that they have no need for anymore, they can either call one of the stores to go and inspect the goods or they can bring it directly to the store for assistance. “The same applies if someone wants to take out a secured loan,” he continues. “This allows us a wide range of quality second-hand goods to complement the range of new goods that we sell – making our Bloemgate and Fichardt Park stores very interesting and attracting. We have many regular customers visiting us frequently looking for those ‘gems’.” Kitshoff loves the area in which he operates and considers himself rather lucky. “Bloemfontein is the area which I am the most grateful for, and which inspires me the most,” says the husband of Mari – to whom he has been married for 18 years – and father of three children, Nicole (14), Michael (11) and Stephen (10).
Being grateful, says Kitshoff, is an extremely positive reinforcing factor, especially in tough times. Common sense and hard work should be your best friends. “Personally, I don’t like quotes but one that really fits well with me is by Thomas Edison: opportunity walks past most people because it is dressed in an overall and looks like work.” If you are not willing to do the tedious daily disciplines, he concludes, then you are not likely to succeed. “I am always trying to teach myself to do the less nice tasks first and to never delay getting around