Judging from the bee-hive of activity at the new FoodCo Shopping mall last weekend at Akinolugbade, Abeokuta in Ogun State is an indication that the residents have long craved for a modern shopping mall of that nature.
The customers trooped out in numbers to patronize the mall not just because of the discounts it offered on products, but the new mall was easily accessible to them.
Centrally located at the heart of Abeokuta, the business development team of FoodCo made a good choice of the site as the mall will be a cynosure to travelers and residents around Brewery, Totoro, Ita-Eko, Quarry Road, and other communities in Abeokuta.
On the observed enthusiasm by customers to purchase at the mall, one of the customers, who simply described herself as Mrs. Orebiyi from Ita- Eko area of the community told BusinessDay that “the prices rage is good and again it is centralized for us. We like the shop coming closer to us, we thank FoodCo”.
Another customer, Mrs. Solato who said she is equally a teacher expressed the same sentiment that the mall has good proximity to the community and appreciated the low price of some of the products.
Enthused by the patronage and location of the 14th mall of FoodCo in South-West Nigeria, Ade Sun-Basorun, Chief Executive Officer of the diversified consumer goods company with interests in retail, quick-service restaurants, manufacturing, and entertainment said at the unveiling last Friday that the organization has a business development team that evaluates market and comes up with viewpoint where there are customers that have a desire for what we need to offer and add value to them.” That team identified Abeokuta as a good choice”.
On low price range of products as a competing niche, Ade Sun-Basorun said the company that started 39 years ago in Ibadan, Oyo State has the responsibility to deliver affordability to its customers. He linked the low prices in FoodCo mall to the cost consciousness of the company and elimination of unnecessary expenses.
“Our longevity of 39 years in business and the size of the business, largest in the southwest enable us to have a level of negotiating power with suppliers,” he said.
“We focus on going directly to manufacturers whether small or big to work with them as a partner to ensure growing volumes that can bring sustainability to their business and we also need to get the lowest value they can provide”.
With the addition of the Abeokuta outlet, the firm which won the Retail Company of the Year at the 2020 BusinessDay Nigeria Business Leadership Awards and which sees itself as a key member of the community with the intent to add positive value to the community where it operates, has increased its employment to 700 workers and indirect employment to over 2,000.
The CEO further said the firm also supports vendors and creates not only jobs but careers that give people the opportunity to not just earn but learn and grow. “We have a scholarship scheme for our young staff who come without a degree and who want to advance their careers once they have proven that”.
Speaking on possible expansion beyond South West of Nigeria, Ade Sun-Basorun, a seasoned executive with experience in McKinsey & Company and General Electric (GE) in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and the US, said the company is deliberate and strategic in how it does business to ensure that it is sustainable long term and ensures it delivers the same quality. “We have identified the southwest as our medium-term aspiration to grow the business”.
On CSR, Ade Sun-Basorun who joined FoodCo in 2017, singled out the roles the company played during the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to distributing care packages, comprising food items and essential supplies, to orphanages, widows as well as low-income households in Lagos and Ibadan, the company donated medical equipment to the University Teaching Hospital, (UCH) Ibadan.
Also speaking on the opening of the Abeokuta outlet, Kayode Adeyemi, Area Sales Manager said the company has experienced some exponential growth in the last decade and the opening of Abeokuta mall is the beginning of greater things to come.