Midas celebrates its 35th anniversary as an iconic SA auto-supermarket
Pioneering brand is still SA's go-to automotive and accessories store
It wasn't that long ago, comparatively speaking, that a motorist looking for vehicle parts would brace themselves for a journey into the rougher parts of town, look for a small, dusty storefront and then negotiate prices with a person surrounded by hundreds of boxes, sitting behind a counter that had seen better days.
In 1983, things changed. It was the year that the "auto-supermarket" hit local shopping venues and shopping for spares and accessories, and revolutionised automotive shopping for the better.
Along came the Midas chevron - the bright orange-and-black stripes and the bold identity, which pointed the way to gleaming premises, professional salespeople, the counter and a whole lot more choice, with accessories beckoning the car enthusiast everywhere.
It was a store that had that undefinable "new car smell" – that distinct smell that's addictive to petrolheads. Midas had arrived, and it wasn't long before stores had opened across the country.
This was much to the delight of customers who now didn't have to travel far to find a store and could look forward to one-stop shopping, advice and even a helping hand. The world had changed for local car DIY enthusiasts and people from the automotive trade looking for a steady source of reasonably priced parts.
"The vision was to provide customers with well-stocked stores where merchandise could be touched and examined before being purchased," says Shannon Drake, national franchise manager at Midas.
"A decision was made to introduce this concept into the automotive parts and accessories segment of the market, reinforcing it with a name synonymous with saving money, and a unique home-grown, game-changing store was born.
"The business model was ideal from two points of view. It enabled the group to establish an outlet for automotive wholesalers within the group, and opened up a retail concept that could be franchised and create its presence across the country."
Today, Midas is entrenched in SA and SADC countries. With as many as 300 stores in urban and rural areas, the Midas name is familiar in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, together accounting for 30 stores outside SA.
The business focuses on providing quality "hard" parts that are needed to keep a vehicle running and carry a manufacturer's warranty, as well as a wide range of accessories for the enthusiast who wants to add light bars, car seat covers and even USB outlets operated through a car's cigarette lighter.
"Midas today is about one-stop shopping for the motorist in an attractive, airy store, run by motoring enthusiasts. We are proud of the fact that one of our major differentiating factors is the practical advice that comes with a Midas purchase. This has helped expand our customer base from people who are totally car-focused to everyday customers looking for vehicle add-ons," says Drake.
Of the 300 Midas stores, 30 are company-owned and managed, and the remaining 260 are owned and operated by single-store and multi-store franchisees.
"Although competitors have entered the market, Midas has always had the advantage because of its readily identifiable branding, geographic locations and 35-year history," says Drake.
"We have now reached the stage where some of our original franchisees have retired, and we have second- and even third-generation family members working in our stores."
The growth of the Midas franchise has made it the go-to store for all things automotive. The market for accessories has grown and the demand for parts has continued its popularity with more customers taking over basic servicing of their own vehicles to escape the rising cost of car maintenance.
"We do have potential franchisees approaching us about becoming part of the Midas family. They know that buying into our brand means becoming part of a concept that has been tried and tested.
"Brand strength and longevity mean stability, great product lines and a brand that is in tune with our markets. We look forward to growing our brand and another 35 years as SA's most-loved automotive store," says Drake.
This article was paid for by Midas