Saturday, April 13, 2024

Meet billionaire Nakuru brothers who established Naivas Supermarket, Tuskys

Naivas and Tuskys supermarkets have become household names in Kenya.

Tracing their roots to Nakuru, they have expanded their presence throughout the country and grown immensely over the years.

Interestingly, many of the prominent supermarket brands in Kenya have risen from the county, including Rivanas Supermarkets, Gilani’s Supermarket, and even Nakumatt.

While Tuskys has faced challenges recently and was shut down, it was once a force to reckon with over the past two decades.

However, it is gradually regaining its footing and has reopened several branches.

Both Naivas and Tuskys have a history dating back to the 1990s, originating from Nakuru.

But here’s an interesting fact: the two large-scale retailers share a connection through their founders, who happen to be brothers.

1. Naivas Founder – Peter Kago

Naivas Supermarket’s origin story is one of humble beginnings and relentless entrepreneurship. The late Peter Mukuha Kago was the visionary behind establishing the now-iconic chain of supermarkets in Kenya.

Naivas started as Rongai Self-Service Stores, a small family shop located on the outskirts of Nakuru town, on 27th July 1990.

Despite the small size and location of the shop, the family’s dedication and hard work saw them expand their business to include wholesale and distribution services, leading to its registration as a company in 1993.

According to David Mukuha, Peter Kago’s son, the business was initially established to serve the local Rongai community. However, its success paved the way for a new outlet in the Elburgon area in 1995.

“It first started as a family business serving Rongai in 1992,” he said

With the business expanding rapidly, Peter Kago boldly reinvested the profits into opening a new branch in Naivasha.

Naivasha Self-Service Stores became the headquarters of the family business, which eventually led to the rebranding of the entire entity as Naivas Supermarket.

By 2001, Naivas Supermarket had experienced significant growth, expanding to become a chain of reputable supermarkets in several counties.

The retailer had set up branches in various regions, such as Nairobi, Naivasha, Eldoret, Mombasa, Kitui, Embu, Garissa, Narok, Machakos, and other towns across the country. Currently, they have 83 outlets.

With this expansion, Naivas also created employment opportunities for over 8,000 people.

After Peter Mukuha Kago passed away in 2010, he left his estate to his four children David Kimani, Simon Gachwe, Wairimu Linet, and Wambui Grace.

However, his firstborn son Newton Kagiri Mukuha was not included in the inheritance. He went to court seeking a share of the inheritance but eventually lost the case in October 2016.

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After the passing of Simon Gachwe Mukuha, who was the Chairman of Naivas, in 2019, the remaining three children inherited their father’s legacy and were entitled to the estate.

2. Joram Kamau – Tuskys Founder

Tuskys supermarket has a fascinating history that can be traced back to a small grocery store in Nakuru called Magic Super Store.

The founder, Joram Kamau, had worked as a driver for Nakuru Mattresses (Nakumatt) in the 1980s, and when he retired, the company helped him establish his own business.

Mr Kamau’s hard work paid off, and he eventually rebranded his business to Tusker Mattresses. The store grew and opened a supermarket on Pandit Nehru Street in Nakuru and also on Mfangano Street in Nairobi.

Tusker Mattress switched names to the shorter and more popular ‘Tuskys’.

To extend the kindness shown to him by Nakumatt, Joram Kamau also assisted his brother Peter Kago in expanding his business, Rongai Self-Service Stores, which is now the successful Naivas supermarket chain.

Joram Kamau succumbed in the year 2002. His children have been at the forefront of managing the business.

Despite facing various challenges over the years, such as financial difficulties and supplier payment delays, Tuskys has started gradually reopening its branches, aiming to regain its former glory.

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