IOL: Mpumalanga entrepreneur brings access to hardware

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Johannesburg – Lindo Mnisi, 31, from Dundonald, a village in Mpumalanga, is the visionary founder and CEO of ANDURA Hardware, a hardware chain established during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in October 2020.

Andura Hardware is a township-based, focused retailer of hardware items like DIY tools and building essentials.

The company has three stores in Kaalfontein, Ebony Park and Diepsloot. The hardware company also sells products through the e-commerce website, which has seen massive growth in the number of customers ordering from all nine provinces of the country over the past few years.

“Our mission is to bring hardware stores closer to the people in townships and remote areas. Townships are currently under construction. A number of people are looking at the look and feel of our townships, and as ANDURA Hardware, we want to bring hardware stores closer to the people so they can achieve their goals of improving these communities,” Mnisi describes his contribution to the company’s vision.

Mnisi said operating the stores over the past 30 months hasn’t been without challenges. From fighting through the Covid-19 challenges of hard lockdowns and prices of everything constantly going up, Mnisi says the inconsistencies of electricity have been some of the major challenges encountered by his business.

“Operating a small retail business is challenging. It gets worse when you have to do it while also having to endure load shedding. Having to sit for hours with your computers and point-of-sale systems off and internet connectivity being poor due to load shedding is one of the challenges that affects small businesses like ours, especially in the townships where entrepreneurs cannot afford to get back-up power systems for their businesses.”

Where there are problems, there are opportunities, and Mnisi says ANDURA Hardware is constantly adding a variety of products that will be helpful to customers during the load shedding hours. Products such as rechargeable light bulbs as well as gas-related products.

“Our goal is to bring conveniences to townships. We are working hard to build this business from the ground up and are looking forward to opening more branches in various townships across the country over the coming years,” said Mnisi.

Mnisi said his goal was to grow from within: “We have young people working in hardware and all of them have great minds and are doing their best to grow the business and I believe it is because they understand that the only way to get out of poverty is by working hard.”

The Star

IOL: This entrepreneur went from a mud house to owning hardware stores and building rental units

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Lindo Mnisi envisioned having his own chain of hardware stores but started with empty shelves until he saw his wish come to fruition.

ANDURA Hardware currently has three physical stores located in Kaalfontein, Ebony Park and Diepsloot. The journey was not smooth for the entrepreneur, but he held his own until he succeeded.

Born and raised in the village of Dundonald, in Mpumalanga, the 31-year-old came from humble beginnings.

‘’I grew up with a single mother and two big brothers. We lived in a mud house, which is typical of rural houses, until 2011 when I went to university,’’ he said.

Mnisi became a qualified journalist at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and went on to work for a slew of South African media companies. But the entrepreneurial call occupied his mind until he heeded it.

‘’I took a different path from journalism in December 2015 to go into full-time entrepreneurship. I started a clothing manufacturing company in Kaalfontein, Midrand, where we manufactured graduation attire for all institutions.

‘’That business ran until 2017, when it collapsed, and I had to look for a job again to take care of my then one-year-old daughter,’’ said Mnisi.

To make ends meet, he went on to work for a PR and branding agency. Despite being employed, Mnisi started a side hustle called After12, where he began building rental units in townships in 2020. Having faith in the venture, he quit his job and jumped into full-time entrepreneurship.

The ANDURA Hardware idea came to him while he was building the rental units. He realised that there were no hardware stores close by and he was spending a lot of money to get materials on site.

‘’I realised that this was a problem for many projects in the townships. I decided that soon after finishing the project, we would start a chain of hardware stores in different townships so that people could get their hardware items close by.

‘’These are people who are building back-rooms, and renovating their houses. They are constantly in need of hardware supplies, and we decided to bring that solution to them.’’

Mnisi opened the first branch of ANDURA Hardware in 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown. He said he started with empty shelves, a vision and a dream.

The second branch was opened in 2021and his third this year. With eight workers, Mnisi wants to expand the business and create more jobs.

‘’Our point of sale systems go down for four and half hours during the business day, and our customers feel the pinch. But we try to serve even during those conditions. We also sell load shedding hack products to our customers so they can also manage the crisis in their own homes,’’ he said.

Mnisi is also the author of “The Victim of Circumstances – Life of a Village” in which he hopes to provide inspiration for people.

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