July 2018 - MTHATHA CONVENIENCE STORE FreshStop at Caltex Fort Gale has been short-listed for the title of “best convenience store in the world” by a global association of fuel retailers and convenience stores – the only entrant from Africa in a line-up of 14 finalists from Australia, India and Europe. After just a year in operation, the Caltex Fort Gale FreshStop store – which has brought several “new to market” facilities and food offerings to Mthatha – made the cut for the International Convenience Retailer of the Year award presented by NACS, the US-based international association for the convenience and fuel retail industry. With 277 stores countrywide, FreshStop-at-Caltex leads the market for convenience stores on service station forecourts in South Africa, according to market researchers Nielsen, and is at the forefront of a growing consumer preference for small, local stores which now accounts for more than a quarter of the global grocery market. The Fort Gale store is one of 33 FreshStops sited at service stations under the umbrella of Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), and one of six local award-winners that saw the province sweep the boards at the recent FreshStop national Retailer of the Year awards. The top three places in FreshStop’s 2018 national awards went to the Eastern Cape, for the stores at Caltex sites in Gonubie, Fort Gale and Beacon Bay, while Cookhouse and Northcrest Mthatha made the runners-up list. Caltex Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth was a runner-up in the Best Coffee category, for its Seattle Coffee outlet, while CECM managing director Clive Berlyn was recognised as one of FreshStop’s “Top Brand Ambassadors” at the awards event. The placing of the Fort Gale Caltex FreshStop in the running for the international award was announced at the same event, with the results now awaited from the NACS international convention and awards taking place in Las Vegas later this year. “We are very proud to see the Eastern Cape . . .
08 February 2018 – MORE than 800 runners are expected to compete in the annual Caltex Border Masters Half Marathon taking place this Sunday, 11 February 2018. Now in its 41st year, the race promises to be highly contested in all five categories. “The course is fast, and we expect much excitement in all categories – especially the younger category where the winning title is up for grabs in the absence of Lusapho April who take the honours in 2016 and 2017” said Border Masters Athletics Association’s John Oatley. Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer is once again sponsoring the Border Masters Half Marathon, open to runners age 35 years and older, which starts from Winterstrand winding through the harbour, along the esplanade - ending at the Buffalo Club, East London. CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn, himself an avid runner and previous participant, said the company was proud of its long-standing association with the event. “We came on board as naming sponsors 3 years ago and must commend Border Masters Athletics Association on their professionalism and dedication – it is no easy task growing event entries with 10 to 15% year on year especially in this tough economic climate” Berlyn noted. Into the 35-39 age group for the first time are Andrea Ranger (Old Boys) and Hanlie Botha (Born2run) both of whom regularly show many a younger runner, including the men, a clean pair of heels. In the other women’s age groups those to watch include Karen Davis (40-44), Debbie Gee and a resurgent Sharon Wood both in the 50-54 category Much is also expected from the 2017 Border Masters awardees Makhaya Masumpa (50-54) and Pastor Madlavana (40-44) both out of the Born2run stable. Pastor has posted two excellent overall race 2nd places in recent outings but should still look over his shoulder for the determined Nedbank AC stalwart Doran Fritz. In the 45-49 group perhaps Desmond Witbooi (Born2run) 6th overall at the recent Gonubie Coastal Challenge is a podium contender, . . .
4 December 2017 – WHEN Blue Crane Route Mayor Bonisile Manxoweni opened the revamped Caltex Cookhouse Service Station last week [SUBS; Thursday 30 November 2017], the R5-million investment in the small Eastern Cape town was not his only reason for celebration. For Councilor Manxoweni, who leads the local municipality covering Cookhouse, Pearston and Somerset East, it was 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 to further 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 . . .
FOR 25 years, the Caltex Sole Destroyer half-marathon has tested the endurance and stamina of Border athletes on the “tough but scenic” 21km route through East London’s Horseshoe Valley – and it’s all systems go for this year’s challenge this Sunday (17 September 2017). Hosted by Oxford Striders, the race is named for legendary East London runner Chris Sole and traverses his favourite tracks from his days as a champion schoolboy runner, over the half-marathon route as well as the 9km Sole Teaser. Dillion Pretorius, heading the Sole Destroyer Organising Committee said that arrangements for Sunday’s race are going smoothly and that they are confident that the race is going to be a huge success. “This year we created an online registration portal to make the registration process as accessible as possible and by close of business on Tuesday last week close to four hundred (400) entries was recorded” Pretorius noted. “More than seven hundred (700) runners participated in the 21km half marathon last year and we are confident that the 2017 race will attract even larger numbers” Pretorius added Oxford Striders chairman Dillon Pretorius said the race slogan “Don’t Let it Break You” summed up the challenge, with the first half run on dirt roads, with several challenging hill climbs and descents leading to the aptly-named Heart Break Hill at 7.5km into the race. “At 12.5km athletes are confronted with a leg jarring descent followed by a relatively flat and fast section through East London’s suburbs until at 18.5km they reach the final sting in the tail, the climb up Willasdale Drive,” Pretorius said. Pretorius noted that the race’s naming sponsor, Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), has been involved in the event for the past 11 years, contributing to its growth from a small race to “a premier event, and an annual highlight on the East London running calendar”. He said the Caltex sponsorship had enabled the organisers to invest in a top-quality timing . . .
July 2017 - CALTEX EASTERN CAPE Marketer (CECM) – the largest Caltex-Chevron franchisor in Africa – unveiled its biggest investment in the Port Elizabeth region to date in New Brighton early July (subs: 5 July 2017) as the company continues its drive for growth, with a focus on creating hubs that attract new business and employment opportunities. CECM’s R15-million investment in relocation and a complete rebuild of the George Motors service station, which services the busy industrial hub of Struandale and the residential area of New Brighton and now includes a 24-hour FreshStop convenience store, reflected the company’s strategy of investing in neglected and under-serviced areas, CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn said. “This is not about making us feel good. It’s a sound business decision that brings services closer to people and the service stations in turn become hubs that attract other businesses and entrepreneurs to the surrounding area and create further employment,” he said. CECM chair Stephen Dondolo echoed Berlyn’s words, saying that his African Pioneer Group had invested in CECM particularly because of the company’s strategic focus. “We need to show people that investing in under-developed areas makes good business sense. This investment is a show of faith in the community of this area,” Dondolo said, also noting that further retail development on the remaining portion of the site was expected in the near future. CECM’s investment in construction of the new service station brought further benefit to the area, as roadworks to create access to the site also improved traffic flow and access into the residential area. Local businessman and EP Rugby president André Rademan has owned George Motors for the past 17 years and said that the new service station – boasting state-of-the-art fuel pump technology and stringent environmental standards – provided a centre of convenience and access to the surrounding community. Rademan invested a further . . .
APRIL 2017 - TEAMWORK and great customer service proved to be the secret to success for Kokstad Caltex service station when they brought home the grand prize in the “Every One’s a Winner” competition run by Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM) for more than 90 retailers in their network across the province. Proving that bigger doesn’t always mean better, father-and-daughter team Owen Peters and Janice Kitching, owner and manager respectively of the service station in the small town of Kokstad, saw off competition from the main centres of the Eastern Cape and were rewarded with the R75,000 grand prize at CECM’s recent annual retailer conference. Kokstad Caltex claimed the prize by beating their targets for fuel sales volume and stock management, maintaining the high standards of site upkeep and cleanliness required of Caltex retailers, and delivering excellent service to their customers in the fast-growing small town and travellers on the busy border between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. “It’s about perseverance and teamwork,” said Janice, looking back on the major revamp in 2015 that saw the site completely rebuilt for improved access and greater convenience, offering additional fuel pumps and a flagship FreshStop store. “We focus on getting every piece of the business right – from making sure the tanks are always full to being there with help and advice for our customers. Getting that right takes teamwork, it can’t be a one-man show, and we definitely have a great team. “We really want to thank all our staff for their hard work in getting us to the top of the competition, as well as our customers because without their ongoing support we will not be able to meet our fuel targets,” she said. The Kokstad Caltex team are working hard to “go green” and make their business more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. The prize money would go a long way towards helping with that drive, Janice said, and would be put towards installing solar . . .
MARCH 2017 - A SUSTAINABLE BENGUELA Current ecosystem is the lifeblood of the ‘Ocean Economy’ on South Africa’s West Coast – supporting fisheries, tourism and recreation, and thousands of jobs. Like any living system it needs regular health check-ups, and the best way to do this will be examined in Cape Town this week (22 and 23 March, 2017). Scientists, government officials, business and civil society representatives will consider linkages between the diverse “ecosystem services” provided by the ocean and coastal environment, and how best to measure and monitor both their economic value and environmental health. The workshop forms part of a project by the Benguela Current Convention (BCC) to strengthen the ability of member states – Namibia, Angola and South Africa – to monitor the health of the Benguela Current ecosystem in their own countries, as well as implementing an integrated approach to sustainable ecosystem management across national boundaries. The workshop will also aim to identify gaps in current monitoring activities and data, capacity and resource needs, and how to resolve potential conflicting uses in future. “This is vital to maintaining the sustainability of the economic and social benefits to the people who rely on the ecosystem. For South Africa, this is particularly important, given the focus on developing the maritime economy through Operation Phakisa, which has earmarked a number of diverse projects for the West Coast,” project leader Dr Samantha Petersen said. The productive waters of the Benguela Current support the largest portion of South Africa’s commercial fisheries, with increasing activity in small-scale fishing and aquaculture. The West Coast is also a hub of off-shore oil and gas exploration, a focus area for redevelopment of small harbours and coastal tourism, and home to the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. It also has a number of significant conservation areas, provides shelter for migratory bird . . .
DECEMBER 2016 – THE EAST LONDON cycling community’s fundraising tour de force, Grandads Army, are back in the saddle to tackle another marathon trans-Karoo charity ride from East London to Stellenbosch. The group have committed to a second Rob Burton Memorial Ride, after raising almost a quarter of a million rands last year for much-needed burns surgical equipment for paediatric patients at Frere and Cecilia Makiwane hospitals. The phenomenal success of the first fundraising ride – tinged with the tragedy of another cycling road fatality this year, and growing concern about cyclists’ safety – have prompted the group to tackle the gruelling 1160km relay ride again, getting underway on Tuesday, 6 December. The riders will follow the same stamina-sapping four-day route to Stellenbosch via Middelburg, Willowmore and Barrydale, but with two important distinctions. Such is the enthusiasm for the inspirational initiative that the original Grandads Army ranks have more than doubled, with 17 cyclists already scheduled to take part. And on a much sadder note, this year’s ride will honour both Rob Burton, killed in 2013, as well as original Grandads Army member Arthur Salzwedel, who also died in a cycling accident earlier this year. The ride is organised and coordinated by the East London-based Eyabantwana – For the Children Trust. Riders and support teams cover all their own costs, which means that all proceeds will go fully and directly to meeting pressing medical needs of paediatric surgical patients at the Frere Hospital. With this year’s fundraising target a daunting R500 000, organisers are again appealing to all East Londoners, including local cyclists and the East London business community, to support the ride, either financially or by volunteering their time or assistance. They have also extended grateful thanks to primary sponsor, Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer, who is again sponsoring the support teams’ fuel, to the value of R30 000, as well as . . .
BUILDING bridges and connecting with people were the driving force of business performance for almost 40% over target that propelled a Port Elizabeth Caltex service station to being crowned Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer’s Dealer of the Year. The performance of the Dealer of the Year, George Motors in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, and almost 100 sister Caltex dealers in the Eastern Cape put the region, operated by Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), top in volume growth for the brand in South Africa for the third consecutive year. George Motors owner André Rademan said the dealership’s 37% over-target volume growth came down to personal engagement with customers and the surrounding business community in the industrial Struandale area. “I attribute much of my success to my faith. I reach out to people, and go out of my way to introduce myself and my business to members of the community. I believe in building bridges and ensuring a positive human connection with customers and potential customers,” said Rademan, who also recently acquired Amatola Motors in Bethelsdorp. The All-Round Achiever trophy was awarded after a nine-month evaluation of all the Caltex retailers on the Eastern Cape on five criteria: growth on target; customer service; cleanliness and image; commitment to the brand, and compliance to operational procedures. The winners of each of the ten categories in the CECM Ten for Ten competition each received substantial cash prizes – with a rich R100 000 going to the top retailer – with the stipulation that 20% of the prize money must be allocated to forecourt staff teams. CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn said it was important to recognise and acknowledge each team’s critical contribution to the overall success of the businesses. “Cleanliness, convenience and excellent customer care at every touch point are critical predictors of success. These entrepreneurial retailers and their staff – the smiling, welcoming faces who engage directly with . . .
FRIDAY, 19 August 2016 – Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), the largest Chevron-Caltex franchisor in Africa, unveiled its single biggest capital investment to date with the launch yesterday (subs: Thursday, 18 August 2016) of the Northcrest Mthatha complex serving the busy north-east gateway on the N2 to KwaZulu-Natal. The R15-million upgrade and re-launch of the flagship service station – incorporating the Eastern Cape’s largest FreshStop development and a range of value-added services for travellers and the Mthatha community – re-affirms the 100% Eastern Cape-owned company’s commitment to investment, job creation and service to motorists in the province, CEO Clive Berlyn said. Yesterday’s (subs: Thursday, 18 August 2016) launch had financial as well as symbolic significance for Berlyn and CECM, as the site’s history is closely interwoven with that of the company, which last year celebrated a decade in business. In that time, the company has almost trebled in size – from an initial investment of R10-million in 34 sites, to 101 sites today and cumulative investment of over R300-million in new sites and ongoing refurbishment of existing sites. Both Berlyn and his founding partner in CECM, the late Richard Ndungane, had operated Northcrest Mthatha at separate times since it was first built in 1985. Ndungane first entered the fuel business when he bought the business from Berlyn in 1996, and in turn transferred it to his wife when the two men entered into partnership to bid for the first Caltex master franchise in a trial of Chevron’s “branded marketer” model. “It was always our intention to knock down and completely remodel this site into a flagship for our company in the Eastern Cape. With the involvement of Novate as site operator we are very proud to see this dream become a reality today,” Berlyn said. Novate invested a further R4,5-million in equipment to ensure the smooth and safe running of the site. Completing the chain of Caltex service . . .