Entrepreneur Kotzé dreams big
> Magreth Nunuhe
Windhoek – Stefan Kotzé is a young Namibian entrepreneur who has dreams to one day own the biggest food and beverage franchise in Namibia.
Believing in the old Chinese proverb that: “A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”, Stefan opened a coffee shop this year in July on the periphery of Prosperita Industrial Area in Danté Street in Windhoek.
A-Coffee, as the place is called, might be small and hidden from view, but Stefan believes that he has chosen the right place to create the right tranquil and soothing ambience that can cater for customers who want an escape from the noise and crowds that are typical of coffee shops in a busy city.
“I wanted something simple but modern,” he says, adding that he had a vintage theme in mind when he made final touches to the restaurant, which also was not too expensive to put together.”
He says that before he opened the coffee-shop, he asked around and anticipated customer needs as there was no similar place in the Prosperita Industrial Area.
The walls of the coffee shop are painted in dark purple on the sides and a strong orange in the middle to bring out the contrast, while the yellow wood furniture also convey a sense of simplicity, yet modernity and chicness.
Even for the name of the coffee shop, Stefan says he wanted something simple and A-Coffee just seemed to be the perfect name to bring out that simplicity.
The 29-year old entrepreneur has built a good relationship with his clients who visit the café on a regular basis and while many other restaurants or coffee shops may have a set menu, he improves or adds to the existing menu in response to their needs.
“You (the customer) can build your own menu. It’s not the same as with many take-aways or restaurants,” he adds.
He does free deliveries for customers who work or own businesses around Prosperita Industrial Area.
“Now they don’t have to drive to Maerua Mall or Grove Mall and deal with the busy traffic or parking issues,” he says, adding that he has also started getting clients from town who come to have business meetings there.
To attract more customers, Stefan says that he mostly advertises on social networks such as Facebook, e-mail database and flyers as it is more expensive to advertise in newspapers.
“Service is very important,” he points out, saying that for people to want to come back to your business, you have to make sure that you give them number one service.
He instils the same value for service in the three employees he employs at his outlet, saying that it must be psychological for someone to want to give their best.
The coffee shop opens Mondays to Fridays from 06h30 to 16h00 and Stefan that the time is just perfect for parents who drop off their children at school in the morning and then come in to have coffee and read the newspapers.
He says that any place can give the flavour and service, but it takes a person who has good business sense to give the “flavour plus one” and “service plus one”.
With a comprehensive menu, A-Coffee offers breakfast and lunch at surprisingly affordable prices and Stefan says that “our food is a touch of difference.”
He mentions his self-created Popeye Breakfast, which is a creamy four-egg omelette filled with spinach, mushrooms, onions and feta cheese as one of the favourites.
A-Coffee’s specialty is the well-known Italian coffee, Lavazza that attracts customers like bees to honey, while coffee lovers can also drink other brands, such as cappuccino, coffee latte, espresso, plunger coffee and hot chocolate.
But this is not where Stefan’s business ambitions end. He wants to open a similar coffee shop in the northern part of Namibia and another at the west coast.
He also wishes to eventually create a franchise all over Namibia with the same concept and wants to train students in the hospitality industry by giving them internship opportunities at his establishment.
But opening a coffee outlet was not something that just came out of the blue for Stefan.
The Okahandja-born entrepreneur who matriculated from Martin Oosthuizen Secondary School in Kakamas, some 90 kilometres from Upington in South Africa, also went through rigorous training in the hospitality industry.
After completing high school in 2005, he enrolled for a three year course in Hotel Management at Potchefstroom University in South Africa.
Then he worked at different places from being a chef to a hotel manager. In the meantime, he also studied wine-making at Stellenbosch.
After that, he decided to return to Namibia where he worked at different lodges as a lodge manager and a food and beverage manager until he decided to open his own business on July 1, 2015.
With the financial help of his parents, Stefan was able to raise enough money and register his company Ardent Investments cc and to open A-Coffee.
Ardent Investments is also involved in catering, food and beverage consultancy, wedding and specialty cakes and wedding and event coordinating.
Some of the challenges he faces are the high rent, which impacts a lot on business profit and adds that construction around the area is also going on very slow, which limits visits to the coffee shop.
But if it is the relaxing atmosphere you want with a waiter that might remember your name the next time, then A-Coffee is for you.