Ten years ago Jitesh and Ila Ravla made a brave decision – they took over the lease of a failed local supermarket in Mangapapa, Gisborne.
“It was very sobering. There were four bare walls and no customers, as they had started shopping elsewhere. We needed to build the business from scratch.”
The Ravlas poured huge amounts of energy into their business. They set up the new store to the highest standards. They reconnected with the community by helping at school fundraisers, sports clubs and other community events. They made their store attractive and open. The customers returned, and with a lot of hard work their business doubled its turnover in the first 18 months.
Growth is a challenge
“It was good to have strong turnover, but our cashflow gave us many sleepless nights. Then we were approached by Foodstuffs with the offer of a Four Square franchise. We could see the benefits would be huge. It would bring in more customers, because the brand is so strong. It would also give us access to reliable stock deliveries, on better terms – something we had struggled with as an independent.”
Buying into the franchise meant another loan. Foodstuffs suggested they talk to the team here at ASB as well as their current bank, to make sure they worked out the best deal.
“Moving to ASB a year ago has made a real difference. The ASB Franchise Specialist came to see us and showed us a better way to structure our business lending. They gave us a working capital facility to solve our cashflow issues, and consolidated our old loan with the new one. They knew Foodstuffs, and took the time to understand our business and what we needed.”
Better finances fuel ambition
Other benefits included ASB’s unique 7-Day Settlement. “Weekends and holidays are our busiest days. Our old bank deposited those sales into our account on Monday. Now we see them every night. ASB gave us a slightly better rate on credit card sales too – it adds up with our high number of transactions.”
And of course they’ve taken to our online banking. “It’s very secure and simple. I haven’t tried the mobile app yet, but it’s next on my list.”
With their finances under control, the Ravlas can focus on their next ambition. “Our next step is to buy this building, and expand it to include a bakery and butchery. Fresher products, better service for our customers and more profitability – and it looks like ASB will help us there, too.”
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