As 2023 draws to a close, the FreshStop Team extends warm wishes to all our partners for a happy and safe festive season. We hope you seize the opportunity to cherish moments with your loved ones and rejuvenate for another year in one of the most dynamic and challenging industries.

The year 2023 began with the anticipation of challenges and GRIT; the theme of our 2023 company conference served as a guiding principle for us and our partners. Our network of retailers sought reassurance, motivation, and direction for FreshStop’s future and strategy amidst a new and assertive leadership change at our alliance partner, Astron Energy and a constrained timeframe for alliance agreement discussions.

Almost a year since the FreshStop company conference at Sun City, we are pleased to announce that we are nearing the finalisation of a new alliance agreement with Astron Energy, with targeted sign-offs in February. Importantly, the administration royalty charged to retailers will not see an increase. However, we anticipate changes in collaborating with Astron Energy on brand image transformation, FreshStop’s refresh, new image implementation, and enhancing operational and site standards.

FreshStop will undergo leadership changes to ensure a robust franchisor support system across all facets of our business, with increased involvement from Astron Energy in the convenience store (C-store) strategy. With over 300 stores and nearly two decades of experience in the C-store and forecourt industry, 2024 marks a year where we aim to “Reach for the Stars”.

In 2023, despite challenges like COVID-19, floods, riots, power supply issues, and security concerns, we achieved double-digit turnover growth, maintaining our industry leadership. A series of strategic workshops are planned before March 2024, involving Astron Energy Leadership, Branded Marketers, FreshStop Franchise Forum, and the Fuel Advisory Council, all to build the best fuel and C-Store brands in South Africa.

As the Alliance Agreement becomes imminent, the FreshStop team is enthusiastic and motivated to introduce a new image, innovation, joint operational and marketing strategies, streamlined logistical and supply structures, ongoing POS and IT support development, and expansion of our project and construction teams. The growth of foodservice and enhanced categories necessitates additional resources and training, prompting our plan to bring in more specialised management in these areas.

The stars are aligned in our favour and by working together, we can be stronger together. Let’s embrace this opportunity wholeheartedly. As we spend time with our loved ones, let’s express gratitude for the blessings of 2023 and pray for continued success in the coming years.

  • 2023 closing words from Joe Boyle, Managing Director of FreshStop.