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Naivas opens outlet at ex-Barclays Moi Avenue branch

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Did you know that the Moi Avenue  Barclays Bank Branch is no more? The building which housed it  is now a Naivas Supermarket after the fast growing company  opened  a new outlet.

Barclays vacated Bank House – at the corner of Kenyatta Avenue and Moi Avenue – on October 1 in a restructuring that saw the lender close a total of seven branches and relocate operations to nearby outlets.

Signs hanging outside the building caught many Nairobians – who have always associated the building with Barclays – by surprise.

“I am really surprised,” wrote Margaret Njoki on Facebook.

The family-owned retail chain opened  the store on November 15 at the location. It is a prime spot teeming with foot traffic and the Supermarket’s management hopes to capitalize on that fact.

The upper part of Moi Avenue has not had a major supermarket outlet since closure of Tuskys’ Beba Beba branch in May.

The Beba Beba Tuskys outlet was one of the rival retail chain’s best performing branch.

“This is a prime location for Naivas. We expect the store to perform really well since the area has significant footfall,” said Naivas chief operating officer Willy Kimani in a recent interview with a local daily.

“This upper part of town is currently largely underserved,” he added.

Naivas has said it also has plans to open a new store in Utawala on October 17, another in Kericho on November 3 and thereafter one each in Kitengela, Mountain View (Waiyaki Way) and Mombasa.

It has closed some outlets which have been underperforming.

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Africa

VIDEO: For Kimani Wanguhu, 22 years in US have borne fruits as he owns 2 successful businesses in two worlds

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Meet Wilson Kimani Wanguhu. He has lived in the US for 22 years where, besides getting an education, he has also learnt the ropes. Just like many who have relocated from Kenya to US, it was not easy at the beginning. When he landed in the US in 1996, he struggled to pay his fees and sustain himself. “I used to flip burgers and later sold petrol at a gas station,” he says.

But now those are distant memories. His entrepreneurial streak has seen him venture into business and he now sells insurance in the Atlanta, Georgia and water in Nakuru, Kenya.

Wanguhu has put up systems that enable him to run businesses in both cities effectively and his story is an example of the impact of remittances from Abroad. He  says having lived in a country where systems function like clock work, setting up shop in Kenya has had its fair share of challenges.

The former CEO of Kim Media Group and publisher of Kenya Empowerment Newspaper is however upbeat and quite happy with what the has achieved so far. He co-owns Ameritrust Insurance Group and has teamed up with his mom and his younger brother, Ezekiel Manyara, as the co-proprietors of Riftdrops Limited, a water bottling Company with its headquarters in Nakuru.

“If you are doing well in Kenya, stay there…,” he advises would-be migrants. He spoke to Alex Chamwada in this week’s episode of  Daring Abroad. Here is his story.

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Business

First ever Laundromat opens in Kenya

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Kenyan entrepreneurs interested in the laundry industry are set to benefit from the launch of commercial laundromat by Alliance Laundry Systems, the US-based world leader in commercial laundry.

The world leader in commercial laundry is targeting entrepreneurs from major urban centres in the country who will receive full laundromat store concepts with all operational and technical support.

According to Jean-Paul Mailhac, Regional Sales Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa from Alliance, a fast growing demand for laundry services and products, combined with a booming economy and annual growth of more than 6%, makes Kenya the ideal place to start a laundromat.

“We have already witnessed that Kenyan entrepreneurs are passionate about a laundromat. Kenya is the country from where we have received the most inquiries by far. It is quickly becoming a need in this society as people spend a lot of time and effort on their looks,” Mr Mailhac said in a statement on the launch.

Urban centres have been targeted with Laundromats for what Alliance Laundry Systems terms as having the highest profit potential.

“For the majority of Kenyans living in urban areas, owning a washing machine is a considerable investment. The normal practice is washing by hand, an inefficient and environmentally damaging process. With an emerging market for Laundromats, this task can be easily and efficiently taken over,” Mr Mailhac explained.

Alliance attributes the lack of uptake of Laundromats in the country to the lack of global best practice experience, limited local technical expertise and no specific retail cleaning knowledge with Mr Mailhac adding that:

“These are exactly the reasons why we at Alliance decided to promote the laundromat concept. We will give Kenyan entrepreneurs the opportunity to make an excellent return on investment.”

The Laundromats are expected to offer convenience to their users in the urban centres and cutting the cost of running and owning a washing machine from their budgets.

“A Laundromat can professionally clean and dry laundry, making garments look newer, last longer, feel better, eliminating the need to own an expensive machine. One added advantage is having the flexibility to use the laundromat whenever necessary, due to the close proximity of stores. In the right locations, one store can service a 9km2 area – meaning plentiful opportunities in larger cities,” the Alliance Regional Sales Manager Sub-Saharan Africa pointed out.

To ease their entry into the country, Alliance plans to have a number of demonstration events in Nairobi to explain in detail all benefits their laundromat concept has to offer later in the year.

“We can help entrepreneurs from start to finish. Not only by providing the best-in-class machines, but also by giving them all the valuable input needed to operate a successful and profitable laundromat,” said Mr Mailhac.

Alliance Laundry Systems is present in 140 countries with a team of more than 2,900 employees.

-businesstoday.co.ke

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Africa

Larry Madowo threatens to delete his twitter account over trolling

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Embattled Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo says he is ready to quit Twitter if the San Francisco headquartered company does not respond to his complaints.

In an opinion piece in the influential American Newspaper Washington Post, Madowo says  Twitter is hopelessly broken and often tone-deaf.

“I have over 1 million twitter followers and I am ready to quit,” writes Madowo.

Though one of the most popular media personalities in Kenya with a huge following, Madowo equally has a fair share of “haters” who troll him on social media. A case in point is a photo he posted while in the Emergency Room (ER) after a bicycle accident on Friday with the caption:

“Check out my hot new arm accessory after a trip to the ER for a bad fall while cycling. I’ll be rocking this baby everywhere.”

Larry Madowo in hospital. PHOTO/COURTESY

This did not seem to go well with his critics who, in their thousands, made very derogatory comments.

Rozah Njiruh wrote: “In hospital bed and enjoying as if in a 5 Star hotel? Only that you have money to waste. An ordinary Kenya will break his arm and go for kibarua. In the mean time, NASA died yesterday.”

Wagacunga wrote the following in KSN’s comments section : “Isnt it strange how people in the public eye use the media when it suits them. Like posting a picture of oneself on a hospital bed smiling like the cat that got the cream. When people criticise their action, they cry foul. Why should you not be trolled? Kenya is a country where people cant afford (majority) to go to your kind of hospitals. That picture is sure to irk many. Close your account by all means. Twitter wont die because you aint there.”

A clearly liid Madowo has told off Twitter for ignoring those in the rest of the world. “If you think Twitter is a mess in America, it is even worse for the rest of the world.

Says he: “My experience on the platform has been the most degrading experience of my career. I am constantly considering deleting my account for good. If nothing changes soon, I will have no choice but to deactivate it and walk away from the vile, toxic mess it is for heavy users with strong opinions like me.

Hate and abuse are now synonymous with tweeting, but Twitter’s indifference (or inability) to deal with it has been particularly damaging. I’ve reported multiple accounts that directly threatened me or whose abuse crossed a line — yet there is almost always no response from Twitter — especially if the offending tweets are in local languages. In the most egregious instances, offenders just registered new accounts to continue their hateful campaigns after I blocked them.”

Trolling has been taking a toll on Kenyan celebrities in the recent past as “hate speech” continues to spread on social media like bush fire.

Madowo recently discontinued his engagement as a Daily Nation columnist after his seniors refused to publish last week’s #FrontRow article, which was critical of the government’s decision to shut down four television stations and how media managers handled the situation.

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