When Blue Crane Route Mayor Bonisile Manxoweni opened the revamped FreshStop at Caltex Cookhouse Service Station on 30 November 2017 at the intersection of the busy N10 and R63 routes, the R5-million investment in the small Eastern Cape town was not his only reason for celebration, it was also a moment to reflect on his personal journey, speaking on the same forecourt where he spent more than a decade working as a petrol attendant while saving up for his education.
Joking that he had debated wearing his old uniform for the opening event, Manxoweni commended Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM) for its investment in a community hard hit by poverty, high unemployment and crime. “Investment such as this is often the catalyst to further growth and development in areas like this. I pledge the support of the Blue Crane Municipality to this partnership as we would like to ensure that it succeeds and grows,” said Manxoweni.
All jobs at the service station were retained in the upgrade, which saw CECM investing R3.5-million and FreshStop R1.5-million in modernizing the forecourt facilities and adding a FreshStop convenience and fresh food store, Crispy Chicken outlet, Lavazza coffee bar, and upgraded restrooms with wheelchair access.
Apart from plans to upgrade the fuel forecourt in the near future, FreshStop Cookhouse offers customers a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, a selection of grocery items and a Grab ‘n Go section for fresh sandwiches, Shamrock and Piemans pies, doughnuts, muffins, smoothies and snacks. In addition, the store has opened a Barista-operated Lavazza Coffee station and the 1st Crispy Chicken outlet in the area.
FreshStop Director, Joe Boyle, said the economic benefit of the newly upgraded site went further than permanent employment at the service station itself, as the contractors and other service providers had also contributed to the local economy throughout the construction period.
Well-known Bedford locals and a successful business couple, Wolfgang and Sylvia Gaiser, took over management of Caltex Cookhouse (previously known as Subway Service Station) in the first quarter of 2017. With over 30 years’ experience in business, the couple was well prepared for the challenge to turn the site around in time for the festive season.
The revamp is the largest investment in the area to date by CECM, since the original Subway service station was the first to be converted to a Caltex site by CECM in 2007. Boyle noted that the new FreshStop store was one of three to be opened on the same day, bringing the total amount of FreshStop outlets to 269 stores nationally.
As part of the FreshStop offerings, three of the staff was selected to go on a Lavazza barista course and passed with flying colours. Not one for shying away from getting into the swing of things, Sylvia followed and is now a fully qualified barista as well. The soon to be opened ATM is also a huge plus because until then, locals have had to travel to Somerset East to draw money.
We wish Wolfgang, Sylvia and their team all the best for the opening of this 268th FreshStop at Caltex Cookhouse store.
FreshStop, named International Convenience Retailer of the Year 2013 and finalist of the 2017 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award, is South Africa’s fastest growing 24-hour convenience store brand and has a network of 268 stores countrywide.
For more information:
Issued by: Byte Media on behalf of: FreshStop