> HIRSCH’S

FOUNDED ON TRUST AND SERVICE

Hirsch’s has become a name synonymous with service and brand excellence over the years. They have grown into one of the most well-respected and trusted appliance and electronics retailers in the industry in South Africa, and it’s interesting to see how they got there.

Allan and Margaret set up their first shop 43 years ago in a tiny showroom, no bigger than a bathroom, in Umhlanga Rocks Drive in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. For a few years they sold stoves and fridges and Allan carried out repairs in the area. One day, a passing salesman popped into the shop with a new product that he’d been battling to sell.

“It sat forlornly on a table in the middle of the showroom and as no one had much of a clue what it could do, it didn’t sell.” Alan explains. He discussed the problem with Margaret at home (she divided her time between looking after her two young children, Richard and Luci and helping out at the shop) and the next day she fetched the peculiar item and took it home to see how it worked.

The appliance in question was the microwave oven. Margaret saw the potential in the product and started cookery schools to show the public what an amazing time-saving device it was. They loved it! They also loved the fact that the Hirsch’s went out of their way to make their lives easier – from cookery demonstrations to always giving superb customer service, the name Hirsch became synonymous with service excellence.

Today, Hirsch’s is the largest independent appliance and electronics retail chain in South Africa. Allan and Margaret have become two of the most well-known and well respected, award-winning Entrepreneurs in the country. From the original tiny little store the size of a kitchen that they opened in 1979 with just R900 in the bank, to the billion rand company with 14 branches and six concept stores spread throughout KZN, Gauteng and the Cape. They have a strong, young management team, headed up by their son Richard as the CEO, Paul Brown as Managing Director and daughter Luci as Brand Manager taking the company to the next level.

The Hirsch’s pride themselves in giving their staff solid training in all the appliances they sell. Each store has a team of brand ambassadors who put the staff through their paces with regards to product knowledge, so that when a customer comes in, the sales person can speak confidently about the product – with backup from the brand ambassador.

Over the years they have seen the value in being the first to bring certain products into the country. Including the combined washer/dryer, for instance. They also make sure that customers know the benefits of buying energy-efficient products and staff are encouraged to sell these power and cost-saving products first.

Another Hirsch’s innovation is the way they showcase their brands. “We have found that consumers are extremely brand conscious, so to make it easier for them at point of purchase, we display our brands on their own, uniquely designed stands.”

To give customers something else to look forward to when they shop at Hirsch’s, they started networking functions 10 years ago. “We wanted our customers to get more than just a shopping experience when they came into our shops, so we started Business Networking events, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, health talks, entrepreneur workshops and training courses for housekeepers.” During lockdown, they went virtual with these events and managed to reach people from around the country effortlessly.

Hirsch’s have won the Your Choice Award for Customer Service in the Appliance and Electronics industry for the last 14 years in KZN and for the last five years in Gauteng. In 2019, Allan Hirsch won the Standard Bank and KZN Top Business Business Man of the year award. For the last 12 years, Margaret has been the recipient of over 45 business awards in South Africa, Africa and Globally. Her latest award was the Lifetime Achievement Award, 2021 from the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum. Also in 2021, Hirsch’s won the Family Business Of the Year at the Standard Bank Group KZN Top Business Awards.

Hirsch’s is very much a family-run business. There are two generations within the company, and with five young grandsons coming up through the ranks, there will soon be three! The company’s vision for the future is just to go from strength to strength.

We will continue to open stores in South Africa (we are opening a new store in Midrand and then another one in Cape Town) and at the moment we are exporting to Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia. So exporting into Africa will be our next big venture” concludes Margaret.

HIRSCH'S

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