About us

The Early Years

With a formidable history spanning an incredible 67 years of successful wholesaling and retailing, the Bargain Group has come a very long way since its origins as a fledgling retail store in Port Shepstone in 1954. As with all great legends – they generally come from humble beginnings, and Bargain Wholesalers is just such a legend – starting with a small family business and a young man’s determination to succeed.

In 1946, MH Moosa Senior, bravely embarked on the journey from India to South Africa in search of a better future for his family. With him were his wife Ayesha, and sons Ebrahim, Ismail, Dawood and Adam. Initially working in Ixopo, MH Moosa Senior sent his sons to the local schools, giving them access to the pure Zulu language which would prove a huge advantage in customer relations later in life.

In 1952, opportunity knocked when he was posted with his family, to the town of Port Shepstone, and on the 2nd of July 1954, without great fanfare, opened a small retail store which he called Bargain Bazaar. Ismail joined the fledgling business to assist his father and brother, Ebrahim, and although under-financed at first, were gratified to find the response from many Port Shepstone retailers was very helpful. They came forward to support their small business in any way they could, and despite the first day’s takings being barely two pounds, the business was launched, and the trajectory was clear.

Three years later, a second store, Bargain Bazaar Extension/Bhoja Bhoja, was opened, selling basic grocery items and clothing, and was passed to young Ismail to manage. Years later, his brother, Adam joined Ismail in the business.

The Venture into Mini Wholesaling

In those days women from rural areas came to town carrying baskets of chicken on their heads. They used to barter the chickens for basic commodities like tea and sugar, then took these goods back to their neighborhoods to resell. Seeing a gap in the market, Ismail was encouraged to start a mini-wholesale business from scratch. He bought products from the two established wholesalers in town to re-wholesale. Ismail’s’ natural affinity for business and a keen desire to provide customers with what they needed; at prices they could afford, was the cornerstone of his philosophy, which has been proved to be the essence of the business’s massive success over the years.

This almost accidental foray into the wholesale market became successful, his customer base grew, and when his basement warehouse became too small, he looked for bigger premises. At this time the Group Areas Act legislation began interfering with the operation of the business, and this forced Ismail to look much further afield for a new store location. Eventually he settled on an unlikely one – in Marburg, which was in the middle of the bush with nothing around it!

Ismail, however, was undaunted. His gut feeling about the potential of wholesaling drove him to persevere, paying well over the market price to secure a piece of land, on which stood a small, old factory making timber doors and window frames. Together with his brother, Adam, and their staff, they built the first store with their own hands during their spare time.

The Birth of Bargain Wholesalers

In 1973, Bargain Wholesalers was established, and boasted 1 000 square metres of floor space. The only concern was how to entice retail traders to come to the bush in Marburg to shop for their provisions. Devising an innovative marketing solution, Ismail offered customers subsidized petrol for travel according to the quantity of stock they bought.

Business flourished and Bargain Wholesalers rapidly outgrew their premises, forcing Ismail to dig deep in his pockets to persuade the owner of the adjacent plot to part with a portion of the land, and by 1985, the present building was finally expanded to encompass 4 000 square metres of trading space, complete with a new warehouse.

The store was equipped with semi-computerized tills, better systems and modern equipment, taking the business into another league where they became recognized as a significant player in the FMCG market.

New Branches Open

By 1990, with the business firmly on the upward trajectory, expansion was the next logical step and Harding was the location. The company leased a building and opened a new branch, much to the delight of Harding residents and the surrounding communities. As the pace of growth continued, Bargain Wholesalers partnered with the owners of a piece of land in Inzingolweni, and launched another branch in the area in1993, which was followed a few years later by another in Bizana.

In the following years Bargain became synonymous with keen prices, good quality and excellent product range thanks to the perseverance and determination of Ismail. The Bargain brand had by now become a household name on the South Coast. Extending Bargain’s reach further into the lower South Coast and the Eastern Cape over time, stores were then opened in Port Edward, Flagstaff and Mtwalume, as well as a new one in Bizana.

Hybrid Stores Begin to Emerge

In the years after 2 000, the FMCG industry evolved, with the lines between wholesale and retail becoming blurred because both retailers and the ordinary man in the street now shopped at wholesalers. To maintain its competitive edge, Bargain too evolved and adapted. In 2012, the Flagstaff branch was revamped into a modern hybrid wholesale-retail store – the first of its kind in the Group.

Store space was doubled to 7 000 square meters with deli, butchery, bakery and service departments offering convenience and a one-stop-shopping experience. Shoppers embraced the changes with joy.

Inspired the success of the new hybrid format at Flagstaff, Bargain Xpress supermarket in Port Shepstone was revamped in 2013, featuring a chic, modern design and providing a true value-for-money shopping experience.

Based on this success, the Manaba branch was next to follow, offering customers and retailers alike an exciting, world-class, hybrid wholesale-retail store, providing the best of both worlds.

HOME BRANDS

For over 20 years the Bargain Group has proudly boasted their own home brands for certain basic commodities:

  • Biryani King – Rice
  • Xpress – Water and Dishwasher
  • Everstar -Sugar and Beans

VISION STATEMENT

To deliver a multi-faceted approach and nuanced view of business in a market-driven economy. We are committed to meeting the demands of both suppliers and customers, providing top-quality goods and services at the most affordable, competitive prices.

We are committed to a hybrid business model, which incorporates the development of business outlets that serve both as retail and wholesale stores.

MISSION STATEMENT

To constantly seek wholesale-retail innovation to ensure sustainable growth while offering suppliers and customers alike the lowest possible prices with the highest standard of products, customer service and value for money.