By Munene Maina
Building a company from the ground up and successfully running it requires hard work and no one knows about this better than Grace Njeri Kabaya who now runs the biggest supermarket in Njoro town, Nakuru County.
And in a sector where the many customers still come through word-of-mouth recommendations, Kabaya is quite alert to the need to create loyal relationships with customers to make sure they spread the word. Her lively chat with customers, at times interrupted with smiles and laughter has ensured this.
She has mastered the art of customer care services for over 15 years she has been in business.
“The way you handle a customer is of great significance to the business. They want the best services and you never lose them,” she says.
From a small beginning when she started, she now runs the biggest supermarket in Njoro, a town of rich history. For years, Grace recalls her business had a stagnant growth almost crippling her ambitions.
However, focused and ambitious, she never gave up but soldiered on with hopes that one day she would break even.
In 2012, her breakthrough came knocking when a friend informed her of the existence of Egerton University Sacco. Having had her frustrations with banks she reluctantly joined the Sacco and started saving. Now about five years since she joined the Sacco, Grace is happy she made the decision.
“I have been able to accomplish much in the short time I have been a Sacco member that I wonder why I didn’t join it a long time ago,” she says.
She regrets why she spent years pursuing a seemingly elusive ambition through banks. To her, a Sacco is the place to be.
When she joined the Sacco, she says, she had a clear purpose in mind: to save and get money for her business expansion. “I have been able to achieve all these,” she says confidently.
One thing she loves about her Sacco is low interest rates and effective and efficient services. “If I have met all the requirements I will get money within hours besides they don’t need collateral,” Grace adds.
Her first loan from the Sacco was Sh3 million which she invested in expanding her business. The returns were amazing as the business tremendously grew demanding for further expansion.
Determined to take her business to even a higher level, Grace never regarded this as an impossibility for as she knew Egerton University Sacco was a reliable financial partner in the journey to realize her ambitions.
Indeed when she approached the Sacco for her second loan of Sh6.7 million the society never disappointed. She used the money for stocking and expansion of business.
“My business is now more advanced and attracting more clients,” she says with a broad smile.
Her business, SumKam Supermarket is housed in a three-storey building having started from a small rented room.
“Once the finishing of the first and second floors is completed, we will introduce more items such as furniture which we could not sell before due to space constraint,” says Grace.
Grace says she has also bought a bakery as she aims to make her business the leader in Njoro and surrounding areas. She also operates a petrol station in Njoro town.
The married mother of three has 25 members of staff. “I have introduced them to the Sacco, and some have benefitted a lot. One has been able to build rental houses and her own home through the support of the Sacco,” she adds.
Despite all the success, Grace is not done yet. She sees a brighter future. A shrewd business lady who has the support of her husband and family, she is dreaming big in a way that most people will not.
“I am planning in future to open branches. This is very possible!” she states.
Grace urges other business people in Njoro to try Egerton University Sacco, as they would have no regrets.
“My aim now is to grow with the Sacco. Had I joined the Sacco earlier I would now be very very far,” she avers.
By Munene Maina