HOLIDAYMAKERS and tired long-distance truckers now have a convenient new pit stop to refresh and refuel while travelling on the national road near Komga, in the Eastern Cape, as the all-new Caltex Komga Fuel Centre opened its forecourt and ample hospitality offerings to the public on Friday, 18 March.
The bright new Komga Fuel Centre is among the frontrunner Caltex dealerships to venture onto the busy N-routes running through the Eastern Cape, a bold confirmation of the confidence that pioneering Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM) has in the region and its local partner dealers.
An altogether family affair, Komga Fuel Centre is owned by enterprising Transkei couple, Neil and Heather Owen, whose children, Devon, Nicole and Candice, all play vital roles in the business, along with Heather’s father Glynn Wood and operations manager Nico Kaltwasser. While Neil’s other interests are in the hotel trade, Heather is an experienced ‘petrol head’, having run a string of successful fuel stations over the past 25 years.
“In recent years, Caltex’s presence in the Eastern Cape has strengthened in leaps and bounds. CECM has a hands-on approach to dealers; we are more than just a number and we enjoy a good relationship,” she said.
The welcoming, one-stop complex provides a long overdue service to the high traffic region. The R12-million investment incorporates much more than modern fuelling operations. A convenience store, sit-down restaurant and takeaway, as well as full restroom facilities promise to provide welcome relief from the road, while truckers are offered a dedicated truck stop with showers and a TV lounge.
“There was simply a small three-pump petrol station on the site before. Now, motorists are able to safely break their trip and unwind with a wholesome hot meal at the Komga Bistro, allowing restless kids to burn off their energy at the indoor or outside jungle gym and play areas. There is even space for dogs to stretch their legs and have a drink.”
Heather said the involvement of rural local communities was great for them as well as for tourists, who enjoy browsing the store for local wares, handcrafts and old-fashioned homemade treats the likes of which can only be found in farming communities.
CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn, who cut the honorary ribbon to officially open the centre, said the exciting new facilities were indicative of the pioneering 100% Eastern Cape-owned company’s commitment, both to dealer partners and to motorists.
“CECM seeks out partnerships with entrepreneurial retailers who have a passion for the brand and the fuel retail industry. In addition to the Owen family’s multimillion Rand investment, Caltex invested a further R3,5-million in forecourt facilities,” Berlyn said.
“Komga is the ideal place to take a travel break. The busy route connects East London and Mthatha, and is also on route to Durban, so the trucking and tourism traffic gets extremely busy. Here, the Owen family has established an outstanding service offering to passers-by, with excellent and top quality facilities not only for refuelling and safety checks but also with a suite of hospitality options that will improve even the most harassed driver’s mood!
“They have truly thought of everyone in their plans and CECM is proud to have put our star on top of Komga Fuel Centre.”
CECM has almost trebled in size since it commenced operation in December 2005, becoming a major employer and investor in the province and the largest Chevron-Caltex franchisor in Africa. With now close to 100 sites, CECM invested more than R70-million in refurbishments in 2015 alone, with eight new sites set to launch by mid-2016.
“We are very much a proudly Eastern Cape company, and proud to say that more than 95% of our non-fuel expenditure stays in the province, and that we give back to the community that supports us by supporting education and sport in the province through our corporate social investment programme,” said Berlyn.
“As shareholders, we are committed Eastern Cape people and we believe that this province has huge growth potential which needs to be unlocked through investment, creating sustainable value and meaningful employment.”
Jonker Fourie, chief executive of Emfuleni Corridor Tourism (ECTOUR) said the Komga Fuel Centre added value to the region for holiday makers and was sure to become a favourite rest stop.
“Travel is as much about the journey as the destination. The modern traveller likes to explore and experience, and in the same mould, service stations have become more than just a place to fill up your car – they are a cog in the whole workings of a successful holiday. Stations like the Komga Fuel Centre add to the relaxed holiday feeling and become a mini destination of their own, with motorists even planning their trips around this enjoyable rest point,” said Fourie.