In March 2004, we (Giel & Natalie van der Merwe) took the plunge to leave the busy city life in Johannesburg and settle down in the beautiful, family friendly town of George.
Diskonto was on the market, and we felt the call to buy this small stationery and Christian Bookstore.
Our journey has been tough, life-changing, with loads of growth and lots of mistakes. We started out with 2 staff members.
In 2011, Giel was called back to contract for his previous employer, and I was left to run the business and form a team that could help me move the business forward, as my real passion was always to be a stay at home mum. So, between my team and myself, we formulated a plan to release me to be at home with the children in the afternoons.
My kids (photos right) are no strangers to packing stationery boxes, operating credit card machines, serving customers and watching their parents
burn the lamp till late at night to reach targets! Lydia (pictured in blue dress) grew up amongst us unpacking boxes and learned how to crawl in the aisles at Diskonto! She now helps us like a pro over Back to School!
Almost 14 years later, and we have so many people to thank for our growth and lessons learned.
Giel and I made a formidable team, as when the one was down the other one would carry – like Giel always calls it: We played Tag Team
My Dad, lovingly known as Oom Willie by our clients, worked with us growing the business out on the road and took care of our corporate clients needs. On the 25th October 2016 we celebrated his 80th Birthday, and he went on to retire a year later at a ripe age of 81.
We are so thankful and grateful for everything he helped us achieve for Diskonto.
To enrich the lives of our staff (build up and provide for), customers (give hope with excellence and competitive pricing) and suppliers (build life-long relationships of integrity)
We take pride in learning and growing – not just in product knowledge, but also in the needs of our clients.
We must remember that our children are the future generation… what an exciting prospect to journey with a child throughout their pre-school years into their tertiary education, and to watch them grow. As we journey with them let us take every opportunity to encourage and give hope for their future.
We have always stood fast to keeping our eyes open to the immediate need. We have partnered with several organisations that serve in our community and bring hope to children and their families in need.
We have always stood fast to keeping our eyes open to the immediate need. We give without seeking marketing or advertising, and do it quietly. We have supported the following organizations:
Kidstop (In fact one of my employees was a Kidstop kid) He started with me in November 2011, and is now a strong back bone in our back office. (Jonathan Gelderbloem)
Options (Laurie Edwall)
Life Community (Sally/Maryna)
We also encourage our Team to be on the look-out for children in need, we then confidentially approach them to ensure their scholastic supplies are taken care of.