Hirsch’s is today the largest independently owned appliance and electronics retail company in Southern Africa. This month marks their 42nd year in business and unlike other retail outlets that experienced significant losses during the pandemic, Hirsch’s achieved well over their budget.
Founder Allan Hirsch said that when they predicted their budget for the year 2021, they looked for quite aggressive growth, but by the end of March 2020 they assumed the worst. “However, fortunately we are in an industry that has benefited from the situation we’re in. The home space has been the focal point for many consumers and there has been a huge demand for home goods. As a result, we have achieved well over our budget. We have had an amazing year and we are truly grateful to our customers, our staff and our suppliers, all of whom contributed to our success”.
An appliance repair man, who without design, became an entrepreneur, Allan Hirsch and his wife Margaret started their appliance business in a tiny showroom in Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Durban, in 1979 with just R900 that they had saved. Over the years they built up a strong base of customers, first by doing repairs and selling second-hand repaired appliances and then into a fully fledged appliance retailer..
After leaving school Allan joined Fuchsware where he spent 5 years learning all there was to know about refrigerator repair.
Hirsch said that if it was not for his wife’s belief in him (she insisted he see a specialist who diagnosed dyslexia, a problem that had seen his self esteem plummet during his schooling years) he would still be repairing fridges today. Finding out that he was dyslexic changed his life and gave him the courage and determination to start the business and grow it into one of the best entrepreneurial success stories in South Africa.
Over the past 42 years, Hirsch’s have had the privilege of serving young married couples and helping them to set up their first homes with everything from the air conditioning unit to the tiniest kitchen gadget. With their instore service and spares department, they have helped couples to resolve issues that sometimes arise with appliances, replacing parts and sending out technicians if necessary.
In 2002, the company brought their Hirsch’s Homestore concept to Gauteng and in 2012 they opened their first branch in Cape Town. Today they own 18 branches in KZN, Gauteng and the Cape. Despite recessions and the global economic crisis, the Hirsch’s are upbeat about South Africa and their expansion plans in the face of the downturn attests to this..
Concludes Allan and Margaret’s son Richard Hirsch, CEO of the company, “Although we remain a family business, our growth and success is down to our customers and our 850 permanent staff plus 400 casual employees and owner drivers. We’ve established Hirsch’s as the place to buy your first appliance and thereafter build relationships with these customers so they keep returning” he says.