Coca-Cola distributors in Mombasa are full of praise for the support given to them during the difficult time where fewer customers were consuming products due to curfew and movement restrictions.
Elias Karanja from Chuda was seeing a bleak future has been in the business for 17 years, but he says he got more support than he imagined. “In this corona period, they have held our hands, allowing us to take products and pay later”, he said.
The father of two sons was grateful that his family’s comfort was made possible through the distributor business and now his children as finishing high school and university with little sweat over school fees.
During the pandemic period and the need to reduce the spread of the virus, Coca-Cola supplied them with sanitizers, buckets for hand washing and masks.
“Coca-Cola cares about the disabled”, he roared as he explained his journey. He added that the company also does repainting for free after every year.
It is the same script Salim Mohamed, a resident of Majengo Kanamai, where he owns and operated Hanan Dishes, a restaurant.
His 20 employees at the hotel were least affected even as the pandemic hit hard since they swiftly moved to take away.
Their location gives them leeway to respond to customer needs in neighboring areas like Mtwapa and this has helped them guarantee sales.
“Coca-Cola has provided many things, like plastic sodas, which are in-line with take away order from government. They also replaced our tables”, he noted.
Salim said the main difference is the responsiveness of the Coca-Cola staff. “The staff are really good. They should not leave our area. Even if we ask for sodas in the evening, we get them in record time”, he added
One of the products that have been selling more volumes than before is Tonic quinine which people imagine contributes to lowering viral numbers of COVID-19. However, there is no scientific studies on it.
Hotels also buy food from him, which guarantees him a constant customer base.
David Yego, the owner of West Mainland Distributors Limited and Changamwe Distributors Limited, with 18 years in the business speaks with glee about how his business continues to blossom.
He started the business in 2002 with two trucks, having bought it from a friend. Today, he has over 20 trucks and says he will continue to invest and profits are healthy.
Mr. Yego distributes Coca-Cola products in the whole of Mombasa island and Changamwe.
“We were affected by the pandemic, although not so much. Once restaurants were closed and shops closed, sales volumes reduced, but soon as conductions were relaxed, we were back in business”, he asserted.
They reduced staff, like loaders, trucks and salesmen but all are back in business.
David has 60-70 staff, something that he prides that he is creating employment.
“The most affected were the restaurants. Shops were not severely affected since people were still moving around and buying from them”, he explained.
He added that the advantage of the bottling company is that there is a broad spectrum of products, like water which is good, although there is stiff competition.
He however challenged Coca-Cola to always sustain promotions as they help keep sales volumes high.