Bet you didn’t know this is a global franchise business

Find out about Cash Converters’ origins, how the second-hand business’s perception has changed over the years and why it is such an international success.

The original perception of Cash Converters

“When we first brought the Cash Converters franchise into South Africa in 1994, everyone’s perception was that it was dark, dingy and unpleasant,” explains Richard Mukheibir, Co-Founder and CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa. 

Case in point? The bank had the same prejudice about the principle of a second-hand store. Hence, the duo initially struggled to get funding. In addition, it took over four months to find a landlord. Eventually, Richard – and Co-Founder (and current CFO) Peter Forshaw ―convinced both the landlord and the bank manager to help them. Still, they learnt the lesson of tenacity through the process. 

As times have changed, Cash Converters is now very much in demand; there is no trouble putting a Cash Converters’ store in a centre, often next to premium and flagship brands. Also, with a dedicated team to deal with landlords, lease negotiations, site selections and even funding of franchisees, the support that franchisees receive from the day they come on board is unmatched.

A global, integrated network

From its Head Office in Perth – and as a listed company via EasiCorp – the Company now controls over 600 stores across 15 countries. It boasts 37 years of operation across multiple cycles and geographies and a global, integrated, multi-channel network. Today, Cash Converters has stores worldwide, in regions such as the UK, the UAE, the Middle East, and countries such as France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and others.

Creating new perceptions

Just as the original Cash Converters model has done so well overseas, “We wanted to create a perception of high-street trading, where we sit as comfortably in a shopping centre, next to a Woolworths or a Pick n Pay or any other retailer in this country,” says Richard. “Second-hand doesn’t have to mean second best,” he continues. “We aimed to showcase that Cash Converters was a professional, clean, welcoming environment ― where my wife, mother, grandmother and daughters should be comfortable trading in one of our stores,” he explains. 

With the advent of the National Credit Act in 2007, the initial perceptions of money lending were also negative. These days, Cash Converters offers a 1-month loan against the things you own and a 1-month loan to tide you over until payday. “We continue to look to re-position ourselves and change perceptions. Our clientele is middle-class, middle-income customers who know they can come to us whenever they need access to cash – no matter the reason,” says Richard.

A global business supporting local franchisees and families

Over the last two decades, the Cash Converters network has proliferated across the country and into Southern Africa – but Richard is acutely aware that a decision made today might have a significant impact in a few years. “Each of our franchisees has anywhere from 10 to 20 staff members. If we hadn’t opened that store in that territory in that particular town, they may well not have had the opportunity to do that job,” he says. 

Richard concludes: “Franchising is a key component to improving the economic climate. Thanks to new businesses in various territories, we support anywhere between 6 000 and 8 000 South Africans in terms of feeding, housing and educating people – which is really positive.”

Are you interested in becoming a cash converters franchisee? Learn more about the Cash Converters franchise today.

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