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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 28 Nov 2014
LIFESTYLE

LIFESTYLE

Life is about choices, and happiness is directly related to the number of those decisions we get correct, combined with our ability to move on from the ones we got wrong.

GRANT COOPER
THE BUSINESSMAN WITH THE KIND SMILE

DEAR GRANT, WHAT IS YOUR STORY ?
I was born into a middle class family in Pretoria in 1969. Independence came early to me as I left home to attend a music school in Kwazulu-Natal aged 9. The next six years surely instilled a sense of adventure and love of travel which would have a great impact on my future career. Childhood flash-backs include the smell of oranges being packed on Grandpa Woody’s farm, swimming in the raging rapids and calm pools of the Berg’s rivers, sneaking out of the hostel on late night ex-peditions (and the lashings we used to get when caught), and of course the smell of Mom’s baking when returning home for holidays.

WHAT WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A MAJOR MILESTONE IN YOUR LIFE?
I was definitely a late bloomer as far as relationships go, and have two boys which I adore. Sven, who lives in Cape Town, is completing his final year at SACS. He is a talented musician, play-ing both Sax and Double Bass. Kyle, the gift of my short-lived first attempt at marriage, is five and a half. I am one of the fortunate Dads who has custody of our child, and we are both happily settled back in his country of birth.

IS THERE ANYONE IN PARTICULAR WHO HAS INFLUENCED WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
For this answer I have to thank Syd Muller, the then MD of Woolworths SA. I remember trembling nervously as I stepped into his corner office, leaving 30 minutes later, beaming and full of confidence. His simple reassuring words to me that day as a junior accountant not only inspired me strive to be as successful, but mostly to seek out the values that made him such a caring and believable leader.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO MAURITIUS?
It was during my time with Coca-Cola in East and Central Africa that my path crossed with SABMiller, actually on opposite sides of the negotiating table. Soon thereafter I decided to accept an offer to join them, my first role being based in Mauritius. I fell in love with the island during those three years, and also learnt the value the island has when planning on doing business into Africa, so deciding to return here to start my own business, a lifelong ambition, was an easy decision.

TELL US ABOUT THE REALIZATION OF YOUR DREAM!
The new company was founded in October 2012 and we relocated back to the island in January 2013. The Brand Café Ltd has as its main objective to identify and develop strong, innovative emerging brands and products, based on global trends, and to manufacture, distribute or retail the products. The company is developing a portfolio of products which complement each other and have demand both locally and abroad. With regards to retail out-lets, the company is developing strong business models in Mauritius, and will seek to franchise the concepts abroad. SiMiS Pure Frozen Yogurt is the first of these concepts, and we will be opening our fourth store at the Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis this  December. We are confident that our superior tasting, premium quality  yogurt, the fresh and trendy “cool factor” of our store interiors, inspired  by the lagoons of Mauritius, and above all, first class customer service,  will cement our position as a local favourite.  We are already starting to receive interest from potential franchise partners from abroad, and hope that, after a short period of consolidation of our new stores, we can turn our focus to foreign expansion.  Our company is also the exclusive distributor of BOS Ice Tea in the territory, a brand I fell in love with during my time with SABMiller.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING HERE?
Mauritius is a melting pot of cultures and I love the edge that provides to an otherwise laidback and relatively simple island lifestyle.  People are generally very support
ive and friendly, though there are many cultural and historically driven nuances which one needs to quickly appreciate so as to be successful in this small but complex business environment. I love being able to watch the amazing sunsets after a long day.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF HAPPINESS ?
Life is about choices, and happiness is directly related to the number of those decisions we get correct, combined with our ability to move on from the ones we got wrong. Always have something to look forward to.

Happiness is: seeing my son dancing on the balcony when I get home

 

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