A defining feature of the Gorima’s shopping experience is the level of personal service offered to its customers. Gorima’s does not advertise itself in any way thus relying heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. These two facets of its business make it necessary for the company to have staff that is knowledgeable about the stores product offerings as well as the customer-centred culture of Gorima’s.
Gorima’s began as a manufacturer of a single product, Magi Masala, in 1981. Through the vision of its founder Khatija Mall, Durban’s (and probably South Africa’s) first specialty spice retail store was opened at The Workshop in 1986. Currently, it has a warehousing and distribution centre as well as eleven retail outlets spread out across Durban and one in Pietermaritzburg.
From the first day of trade, the culture of Gorima’s has been one of innovation with regard to its product offerings. Khatija’s motto has been from day one “Anything you want we get”. The input and feedback from customers have been invaluable in growing the company’s product line. In doing so, Gorima’s has moved on from being a store specialising in Indian food ingredients to one that offers products for use in Indonesian, Japanese and Thai cooking.
As customers demand more healthy food options, products like dried fruit, nuts and seeds have become an important stock item for Gorima’s. In addition, the product line-up also now includes non-food items like kitchenware and cookware as well as ingredients for baking. Shifts in traditional customer tastes have also resulted in new product lines for e.g. home-made, European recipe biscuits have become a high-volume product range for religious holidays like Diwali and Eid.
It is the strong belief of top management that the growth of the organisation can be attributed to its policy of empowering the unemployed in starting their own businesses. This is done by outsourcing the manufacture of a variety of goods stocked in-store to home industries in and around Durban. To date they number in the region of approximately thirty informal suppliers. In turn these suppliers employ approximately 90 staff members in total..
Gorima’s strict policies on quality, exclusivity and delivery have forced these home industries to acquire new skills in business management including, amongst others, labour relations, financial management, operations, logistics and planning.