Naseeha Dawood, Retailer at FreshStop at Caltex Gateway near Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, has been in the industry for the past 20 years. She initially got into it by accompanying her husband, with whom she runs the business. She says, “Everyone knows that a 24-hour business is not easy and by getting involved and helping him, I have learned the ropes. I realised that this is something I can do and I am capable of doing and something I thoroughly enjoy”.


What does your successful FreshStop store offer its customers?

We focus on being a one-stop shop for our customers. Apart from fruit & veg at really competitive prices, we also have the deli, frozen meals, Grab n Go and heat-and-eat meals – all for added convenience for those getting home after a long day.

We have a House of Coffees coffee bar as well as bakery and butchery items. We also sell imported goods because we have the market for that.  We also have our very own franchise, developed by my husband and I, called City Chicks which has been going for the past nine years. We’re known for our famous fried chicken and our incredibly spicy strips. The concept was created by the both of us and it has been really successful.


What do you do differently to run your store so effectively?

The key is to remember that your customer is the most important person in your business. They should be at the centre of your business, and everything you do must revolve around their needs. Make it your duty to learn their names, interests and the products they normally purchase from your store. You need to also understand customer movement,
encourage recommendations, and stock up on what sells. Know your store’s peak times and schedule accordingly.  Don’t just close a sale but ensure that they will most definitely visit you again.


With the recent unrest and looting in KZN, was your store affected?

We were one of the fortunate ones and I believe it was only made
possible by our community and our fellow patrons at the service station. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to them, the SAPS as well as the independent security companies that supported us. It has been a tough one for all businesses, in that if you haven’t been affected by it, anxiety would have gotten the better of you. But we were really blessed and our thanks go out to the community. Humans are so resilient and when we bounce back, we bounce back stronger.


How has being a woman changed your experience in this industry?

Being in this industry has challenged me in so many different aspects and it is through the different challenges that I have developed new creativity, innovation and growth. I have also learnt that, really, nothing is off limits to anyone. Everything is within your ability. Always nourish this growth mindset and it’s this that will make you successful. I truly believe that women will change this world, one story at a time.


What has been your greatest success to date?

The true meaning of success goes far beyond the common definitions of success. True success is measured with the amount of people that are able to live a better life and are more advanced in life because of what you have created. The meaning of success is to live a happy life and to make this world a better place for everyone.  My greatest success is getting to stand back and watch those that I have mentored excel at whatever they do. To know that I have made a difference in someone’s life and continue to do so every day is my greatest achievement.


We are also very proud of our NPO called The Little Miracles Foundation. A few of our projects include the distribution of grocery hampers monthly, sponsoring sporting and cultural events to learners with disabilities and our Gift Box Projects. But our most exciting initiative is offering skills development to kids with disabilities.