EST Trip Thailand 2018

We were fortunate enough to be presented with another opportunity to visit Thailand, this time to the city of Pattaya. A group of 30 qualifying Members, Suppliers and EST Management had a great time visiting this fantastic holiday destination. New friendships and great memories were made by all, and the connections forged on this trip will last a lifetime. Our promotion-winning Members put forward their commitment to do their best to qualify for the 2019 promotion, a trip to the Philippines! Good luck, everyone!

EST Breakfast 2017 Gold Reef City

The picturesque Johannesburg Country Club
played host to Elite Star Trading’s (EST) annual
breakfast at the end of 2017.

In attendance was former Finance Minister
Pravin Gordhan as keynote speaker.

The historic Johannesburg Country Club was packed to capacity on 25 November 2017 with different suppliers to the hardware industry. The event is held annually to thank the suppliers of the EST Building Group for their support. Mohammed Varrachia, EST merchandising director, started proceedings by welcoming guests. Due to a small delay in traffic Mr Gordhan was somewhat late, but Mr Derek Hanekom took the lead and shared some interesting viewpoints regarding the ruling party in his inimitable way! Board Members of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Derek Hanekom (chairman) Ismail Vadi (also Gauteng MEC of transport) and Neeshan Balton (Executive director) were all in attendance. Varrachia thanked the suppliers in the Hardware Division for their loyalty and support over the past six years – he then handed over to Rob Suttle, Merchandise Director od EST “who highlighted some of the company’s achievements. “Elite Star Trading grew to 503 individual stores which resulted in retail sales in excess of R12BN for 2017” Suttle said. He continued to state that even though the building supply side of the Business had been under pressure, the DIY side was strong. He emphasised the importance of standing together to build volumes on branded products mentioning that it is important to work together with preferred suppliers to build categories. He also encouraged shareholders and members to invest in their stores, technology and staff training. Suttle continued to inform the audience that even though the current economic climate wasn’t ideal, the group still celebrated small victories such as Bright’s who opened a new store in Mitchells Plain. The AK Group from Lesotho also opened in Bloemfontein. Suttle reiterated EST’s objective to ensure the survival of the independent retailer. Next followed a video collage of the events over the past six years – from the trips to Robben Island to golf days and previous breakfast held by EST. Derek Hanekom then took the podium. His message was one of identifying the social challenges we face in this country and the importance of youth employment, our responsibilities as South African citizens and the small, but significant role that each supplier plays in the economy. The importance of transformation, inclusive growth and the breakdown of barriers in the workplace were highlighted.


He challenged each company to employ two extra people to keep their immediate area clean and safe and mentioned the snowball effect of this initiative. Next on the podium was Mr Louis Greeff, Managing Director of EST Group. He took guests through the historical problems in the FMCG side of the business where the playing fields have never been level with large monopolies / oligopolies effectively pushing out the independent retailers. He pointed out the fact that townships, by their very nature, are not conducive for sophisticated retail trade because space is so limited. This forced consumers to travel to other FMCG retailers outside of their immediate areas. This, according to Greeff, is a good reason for independent stores to join large groups such as EST to ensure they have the competitive advantage of bulk buying which effectively aids them to survive in townships. The next speaker was Mr Neeshan Bolton, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrade Foundation who discussed the work of the foundation and the importance of supporting and promoting no-racism in the country. He pointed out the importance of understanding where we come from and specifically being sensitive of saying things that may be offensive when no offence was intended. He informed the audience that the foundation tracked hundreds of incidences of racism at any one time and the organization is building an anti—racism network which works hand-inhand with the Mandela Foundation. He proceeded to state that since March 2017, they have worked hard to defend the constitution by building a coalition of businesses to fight corruption. He emphasized that it was important for civil society to establish its own independent bodies that could hold government to account. He ended with a wish to see everyone at Robben Island in 2018. Then it was the turn of former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan. He invited questions from the audience who was eager to hear his opinions of what to expect from the upcoming ANC conference. We all know how that turned out – Cyril Ramaphosa was crowned the winner, and the Rand firmed to new levels since 27 March 2017. Guests were then treated to a great breakfast and a generous gift with the hope that 2018 would see everyone return with a positive experience. 30 HOME & BUILDING SUPPLIES |



EST Golf Day 2018 Sun City

EST Africa celebrated its 10th anniversary by hosting FMCG and Building Materials Suppliers, with  a fun day of golf at the Lost City Golf Course followed by a Gala dinner and prize-giving.

Some sighting of lions were reported by “stray” Golfers, the Hole in One prize was Jaguar F-Pace, at the Africa Shaped crocodile infested hole, remained unclaimed, but numerous golf balls were claimed by the holeEnjoyed by all

Annual EST Breakfast Event

The 2016 annual EST Breakfast event was held at Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel to thank the esteemed suppliers of EST for their contribution towards assisting the group with their stellar growth and success over the past years.

Guests excitedly arrived at the Hotel on Monday morning the 5th of December 2016. They were warmly received with great hospitality, early morning beverages and a few moments of casual socialising before proceedings commenced.

EST Directors Louis Greeff, Mohammed Varachia and Rob Suttle were on hand to welcome the attendees and share exciting information with them about the group, its direction and achievements.

The focus of the EST group is on sharing knowledge and margins with members, thereby enabling them to grow a national footprint that currently is impressive by any standard.

EST Building membership grew from 316 to 401 within a year. Suppliers stand at 190 and retail sales topped R11.5 billion with EST now aiming for even greater heights in the future!

EST negotiates favourable trading terms packages with preferred suppliers of quality and reputable products. These are pivotal to the success of EST members and great effort is put into expanding the supplier base all the time.

Members of EST Building all have the freedom to maintain their independence. This enables them to enjoy personal freedom in terms of how they trade whilst simultaneously benefitting from a voluntary buying group that gives muscle to both small and large independent retailers in a market which is increasingly being dominated by major chains.

EST also keeps a keen eye on the horizon and with its transparent and simple business formula aims to consistently benefit its members to reach their optimal potential and thereby to empower the group to expand their DIY footprint exponentially into the Southern African region.

EST understands and promotes the importance of both suppliers and members to conduct business with associations because of the scale of economics involved. It also recognises the pressure the current economic conditions as well as the consumer places on retailers to meet more realistic price points and the important role buying groups play in making this possible.

Notable guest who addressed the audience were Mr Sadiq Jaffer who represented the Department of Trade and Industry and Mr Ebrahim Fakir a Political Analyst who expounded on the political climate in South Africa and the economic future we could expect.

An inspirational pre-recorded video message was sent by Mr Ahmed Kathrada, renowned anti-apartheid activist and a very proud South African, in which he elaborated where South Africa had been and the journey that brought us to where we are today. He emphasised the importance of entrepreneurship and business and the role it must play in the future of the country.

Ultimately breakfast was enjoyedby all who attended and as usual the Hotel did not disappoint with their lavish and excellent buffet.