This Valentine’s Day, 75% of the roses for sale at Checkers supermarkets are sourced locally from farms in Mpumalanga and Free State, shopriteholdings.co.za reports.
Due to the budding growth of Flower Co. – a department within Freshmark, the Shoprite Group’s procurement and distribution arm for fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers – the retailer is now procuring roses from farms in Delmas and Bothaville, where two of the only six large-scale rose farms in the country are located.
Sourcing locally means fresher flowers that last longer and, importantly, is a boost to local community economies, providing employment in the region.
“Flower sales at Checkers grew over 30% in the last financial year. Over the past three years, our team worked hard to establish the department which now produces significant volumes to meet customer demands”, says Witchious Conradie, Regional Trading Manager at Freshmark.
About 95% of the flowers for sale in Checkers supermarkets are produced via its two facilities – one in Gauteng and the other in the Western Cape – including a diverse and affordable arrangement of roses for Valentine’s Day. Click here to learn more about the arrangements.
Tseke Tladi (26), Freshmark’s Flower Co. Production Manager.
Tseke Tladi (26) and his team of 27 employees at Freshmark’s Flower Co. packhouse in Johannesburg are responsible for ensuring the flower bouquets at Checkers supermarkets exceed customer expectations this Valentine’s Day.
After graduating with a BSc degree in Agriculture from the University of Free State in 2020, Tladi, originally from Benoni in the East Rand, joined Freshmark as a trainee manager – an opportunity he credits with launching his career. In 2022, Tladi was promoted to production manager and now leads a team that supplies flowers to Checkers stores nationwide.
“My training helped me to better understand the value chain and how flowers go from farms to customers. There are many aspects to it which makes my job exciting. From flower auctions to designing bouquets, production and making sure all our flowers arrive fresh in stores every time”, says Tseke Tladi, Freshmark’s Flower Co. Production Manager
Established in August 2019, Flower Co. is a department within Freshmark, the Shoprite Group’s procurement and distribution arm for fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
The department started with 10 employees in a packhouse located at Multiflora – Africa’s biggest flower auction – in Johannesburg. This is where all Checkers’ fresh flowers and bouquets are packaged and arranged. The packhouse doubled in size almost overnight to 670m2, and was expanded again last year to over 1000m2. In 2021, another facility was opened in the Western Cape focusing on fynbos production.
Since the department was established, Checkers’ flower sales have grown by over 30% year-on-year. About 95% of the supermarket chain’s flowers are now produced at these two facilities, which also supply the Group’s stores in Namibia, Botswana, and Angola.
The business aims to be ahead of the curve by working with suppliers to grow special varieties exclusively for Checkers, such as lollipop roses, which are perfect for Valentine’s Day.