The Mitchells Plain Online Store is a shop three friends started out of necessity, which offers free delivery in Mitchells Plain, and the ability to order through WhatsApp. Co-founder Marshall Petersen told the Sunday Times that he and his friends, Andre Williams and Angelo Fortuin, were all unemployed and had nothing but R50 and some experience with social media and finance.
Petersen said that even though they all have degrees, they could not find jobs. He said he sent his jobs to 50 different place and nothing came of it. “We never had much choice but to start something,” Petersen told the Sunday Times. They used the R50 for petrol to meet a supplier, and ran the shop from Peterson’s home, selling items they knew would be in wide demand, such as bedding, glassware, and printer toner. Before they launched their own website and Facebook page, they sold on Gumtree and Facebook forums.
Sunday Times reported that the trio had a setback in 2015 when they were held up at gunpoint in Phillipi. They were struggling to find a customer’s home when two men with guns approached and took their personal items and stock. The incident was an exception, and the three friends said they remain committed to fighting the negative perception of the area, starting with good customer service.
Now people outside Mitchells Plain are ordering from them, Petersen said, even beyond Cape Town and South Africa. They were surprised to receive orders from Secunda, Brits, Soweto, Piet Retief, and as far afield as Botswana, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe. To further grow the business, the trio plan to launch a new mobile-friendly version of their website in June. They also want to work with more local suppliers, and set up their own office.