From humble beginnings to retail giant – story behind The Crazy Store

From humble beginnings to retail giant – story behind The Crazy Store

- The Crazy Store was initially known as the R10 Store and launched in 1995

- It has grown from 1 store in Johannesburg, to 374 stores across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana

- The company’s MD, Kevin Lennett, says that one of their keys to success is the willingness to try new strategies and products

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The Crazy Store was initially known as the R10 Store and launched in 1995.

Although the name attracted a lot of interest due to the novelty factor, it somewhat limited the store in terms of product range. gathered that the longevity of a R10 store would also pose a challenge due to product inflation.

From those humble beginnings, the business has grown to 374 stores across Southern Africa, with three shops in Botswana and 14 in Namibia.

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The Financial Mail reported that the company has a target of 500 stores within the next few years.

However, Managing Director Kevin Lennett is quick to point out that this isn’t necessarily a set goal.

He said, “We won’t expand for the sake of reaching a number."

The Crazy Store is looking to increase its footprint in super-regional malls, but not looking to expand into the rest of Africa.

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This is a far cry from the challenges they faced a few years ago when landlords were reluctant to offer them a lease and opted for well-established stores with high-end brands.

Ironically, economic downturns worked in their favour. A decrease in demand for these stores resulted in fewer tenants and an increase in popularity of The Crazy Store brand.

Lennett also revealed that the company has worked extensively on evolving its brand into a more trustworthy retailer.

He said, "When I joined, people used to say: ‘Aren’t you the store that brings in cheap Chinese stuff?’ We needed to move away from that image. We introduced a quality control department where every product is tested."

The company still imports a large percentage of stock from China, as well as Turkey and Indonesia.

Lennett added that part of the company’s success is their willingness to try new things.

Rather than stick to a tried-and-tested formula or a complicated system, the business rather maintains a great level of flexibility and isn’t afraid of testing new products.

Lennett explained that a prime example of this was when they piloted selling pet beds.

They sold out within weeks and as a result, the pet department is now one of their biggest ones.

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