Allan Hirsch is the CEO and Founder of the Hirsch Group of companies. Hirsch’s is the largest independently owned appliance and electronics retailer in Southern Africa, with 18 branches and 22 concept stores spread throughout Gauteng, KZN and the Cape.
Allan and his wife, Margaret, established the Hirsch’s Home Store brand in 1979 and over the years have turned it into a billion rand business. Allan’s story is not only a lesson in the importance of tenacity and passion but it provides a timely reminder of how going back to basics can be the most important thing you do for your business.
In the 1970’s Allan worked as an electrical appliance apprentice who was as short of money as he was of confidence. After struggling through school with dyslexia, Hirsch eventually dropped out in standard seven and, after completing an apprenticeship started working in a company in Durban North repairing appliances.
In 1979 with the grand total of R900 in his pocket Hirsch took the leap and opened his first electrical appliance repair store in Durban North. He had to pay R300 in rent and a R300 electricity deposit upfront, and spent R300 on marketing before they opened – so on day one he was flat broke. Needless to say, the business grew from strength to strength and the company recently achieved their second billion rand in turnover.
Allan believes you just have to focus on the basics, and customer service is a basic. It’s the philosophy on which the Hirsch culture was established.
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