OTJIWARONGO – It was the absence of essential automotive services in Otjiwarongo’s formerly black township of Orwetoveni that motivated entrepreneur Mac Geiseb to establish a tyre shop.
“The name Orwetoveni translated from the Otjiherero language means ‘our own’, yet what we have is a township with not much business activities. Why should we still after 25 years of Independence have the notion that big businesses will only flourish in the [centre of the town] area while the buying power stays in Orwetoveni?” questioned Geiseb.
The tyre shop specialises in the repair of tyre rims, a service that until recently was only available in Windhoek. Other services on offer at Elis Tyre and Fitment Centre are the sale of new and second-hand tyres, tyre repairs and wheel balancing.
“We intend to acquire a wheel alignment machine in the near future as part of our growth strategy. What we intend to create is a one-stop shop for all your tyre related needs, right here in Orwetoveni,” said Geiseb who employs three people at the business.
The shop also renders 24-hour assistance to stranded motorists on the highway as long as they are within the 30-kilometre radius of Otjiwarongo.
Ismael Hoaeb, who is a wheel fitter with over 20 years experience in the trade, says he is very much happy to be part of the team at Elis Tyre and Fitment Centre. “This is home and Otjiwarongo is were I grew up. The fact that the business is in our township, makes me save more money which would have been used for taxis for me to go to work. Since it’s a stone’s throw away, I just walk to work and in the process my health benefits, as it helps me to become fit,” said Hoaeb.
Geiseb, who is yearning for business from bigger companies in the region, dreams to one day have a government order to supply tyres to the Otjiwarongo government garage.
Another challenge is the time taken by the Development Bank of Namibia to process applications of SMEs. He claims to have applied for financial assistance last year, but since the bank takes too long to process the application, he had to make other arrangements to raise funds and start the business. “Imagine if I had to sit here and wait for the DBN to approve my loan, I would have been without any income. This is longer than 6 months and we can’t do business like that. As SMEs we need people like the DBN to get on board and be serious and support us for growth. Applications should be processed within a month at least. That way you would know whether your business will be off the ground or whether you should shelve your dreams of becoming a big business personality one day and just stick to selling vetkoekies,” said Geiseb.
For quality control Elis Tyre and Fitment Centre subscribes to the international tyre brand called “Point S”, a leading independent tyre and car service dealer network worldwide.
For the last 44 years the Point S trademark has been synonymous with expertise and high service standards in every country where it is established. The values represented by their trademark are practised daily through the commitment and contributions of over 1 600 independent professional dealers managing over 3 300 Point S service centres worldwide with a customer-oriented philosophy. “We are the first black Namibian company to subscribe and be members of the Point S group. This we regard as a major milestone for us, and especially for the small town of Otjiwarongo to achieve that much,” said Geiseb.