Big things start small – ZJ Essential Hardware

ZJ Furniture Fittings & Hardware t/a ZJ Essential Hardware is located in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga. The store opened its doors in early 2017 with a staff complement of 3 women. The store is owned and managed by a young woman, Zolani Mthethwa under the guidance and help of her father, Mr Mxolisi Sibanyoni.


The store’s turnover grew from a humble R500 000 in the first year (2017/18) to a promising growth of about R3 757 181 in the 11 months of the third year (2019/20). The store was initially located at Checkout Centre occupying about 85m2 with no yard. It moved to larger premises in Joubert Street of about 150m2 with a yard of about 1400m2 in December 2018. The store currently stock limited products which affects its competitiveness in the market. It currently stock items of plumbing, electrical, paint and accessories, tools, furniture fittings, PPE and few carpentry items like doors and sanitary ware.

The phenomenal growth of the store could be attributed to the valuable assistance, guidance and mentorship offered by the Essential Group. The store joined the family of Essential Group in September 2017. The Group was very patient and helped us in the following crucial areas during their site visits:

  • Advise on store layout and suitability
  • Advise on correct stock range and quantities (to avoid under and overstocking)
  • Sourcing and installation of the IQ system to assist in Point of Sale (POS) transactions and valuable management reports which assist in tracking sales, purchases, stock receival etc.
  • List of suppliers to obtain competitive pricing and annual rebates

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Our History, Executive Summary & Company Values

Growth through Partnering

As Essential Hardware, we are proud to be the Gold Award winners of the “Voluntary Trading Group of the year” for THREE consecutive years (most recent – November 2018). This family of Members are all independent stores that have one main common trait…they are all entrepreneurs. The Essential Group assists these stores in a variety of ways which required a wide ranging set of
retail solutions to be available and customisable for each unique need. The offering – A national retail brand of independent retailers leveraging buying power and retail business services to reach retail maturity and achieve the required growth.

The Essential Group, established 2005, started out by partnering with independent, community based, owner-run hardware stores as a national buying group. This quickly evolved (by member demand) into a national brand – Essential Hardware. Immediately thereafter, a series of customised value-adding services were brought into the offering adding to the buying group and brand to include high quality operational science & marketing support.

Our model has proved so successful our partnerships comprise a family of over 650 members throughout South and Southern Africa, whose membership is still continuously growing. Our model, which we guarantee subject to specific conditions, has further enabled us to be the proud recipients of the accolade of being the Gold Award winners for “Voluntary Trading Group of the year” for the past two consecutive years.
In 2017 we introduced a new Specialty Retail Brand, Paint Tend ’n Trade. Leveraging our substantial retail resource pool, supplier network and national geographic footprint, this new brand is focused on being a premium, specialist paint destination, once again providing unique solutions for our members and customers.
We view the (well established) Buying Group as a business ENABLER and now, in 2018, have formally announced a new ENABLER, Essential Growth Solutions. This new enabler is focused on B2B transformational partnerships and will leverage the, well established, Buying Group & national retail footprint of over 650 members/partners and hundreds of suppliers/partners.

We believe that by following our vision, remaining humble, keeping to our values and setting the standard through hard work, we will in the future
 announce far-reaching, complementary products and services all focused on achieving a full service (360 deg) turnkey offering and providing cross industry problem solving solutions… becoming THE PARTNER OF CHOICE for exponential growth within the markets and communities we operate within.

We commit ourselves to:

  • Gratitude, respect, honesty & credibility
  • Operating within strict legal and ethical guidelines
  • Offering unsurpassed service levels and support to the member network
  • Always acting in the best interest of the organisation and member
  • Instilling a culture of service and continuous learning
  • Ensuring that the organisation always operates within legal and labour policies
  • Constantly adding value to our members
  • Using innovation and communication as a key driver