The early to mid-90s were exciting times in South Africa, with the shift to democracy and all the opportunities this opened up. And it was with this road to the future opening up that Cash Converters brought its franchise to Southern Africa.

1994: The first store

According to Richard Mukheibir, in an Entrepreneur Magazine article, the political changes in 1994 signalled the likelihood of “a big expansion of the middle class.” Even though he was in IT at the time, Richard realised that this upward trend in the middle class was a great opportunity for franchising and sales in the second-hand goods industry.

So Richard (CEO) and Peter Forshaw (CFO) bought the licence to establish a master franchise of the world leader in second-hand goods: Cash Converters. And what started with a single store 24 years ago has now grown into a successful empire with more than 85 stores.

The start of franchise sales

After personally running the initial store in Cape Town for nearly two years Richard started the initiative to put Cash Converters out there as a franchise for sale earnestly. He sold this first store to the first franchisee after those initial months, a franchisee who is still with the business more than 20 years later (a good sign of the reliability of the business model).

What came next

Looking to move beyond traditional second-hand goods franchises for sale at the time, and even today, Cash Converters opened up a financial services section after the National Credit Act was introduced in 2005. With this, aside from the usual buying and selling of goods, customers could now find further quick and easy sources of cash in store.

Whether it be a small loan secured against the value of an item, or an unsecured loan against a customer’s next salary, these options became available as well. More than just providing people with access to cash in a pinch, this move also provided customers with a source of convenience.

Think about it: if you want food, but you don’t have time to cook, you go to a fast-food outlet. But that option didn’t exist for finding cash. And now it does!

Still looking forward

In an interview on Cape Talk back in 2014 Richard mentioned Cash Converters’ view towards an online ‘frontier’. Given the growing focus globally on online business, especially with the convenience offered by being able to buy online, this is something any successful business needs to move towards. And Cash Converters is looking to take this on too in the near future. So watch this space!

Do you want more info?

You can read through our Cash Converters franchise information in our brochure and there’s a host of interesting information on our franchising blog.