My favourite supermarket just opened their first branch in Lagos. Established in 1982 (long before I was born), Foodco supermarket has largely served the city of Ibadan. Apart from its ambience and competitive prices, I love their pastries. I am extremely loyal to their chicken pie and sausage roll.
I should declare my bias. The founder, Mrs Sun Basorun, is one of my Mum’s closest friends and her late husband, the legendary Dr Bash, was fondly called by me and many others “our second Daddy”.
Many years ago (2000 & something), I visited Ibadan and the flagship branch of Foodco was not what it used to be. The company had to move from the building it had been identified with for years because their landlord wanted to use the property for his own venture. Not wanting to leave the neighbourhood they were located, they got another building about 40 meters away.
On that particular visit, I saw a “For Sale” sign in front of the store. What’s going on? Why would they want to sell Foodco? I walked into the supermarket and it was a shadow of itself. The shelves were really scanty. I vividly remember hearing one lady tell another “Foodco is dying”, the other said “dying? , this Foodco is dead”. Apparently, the business had fallen into terrible terrible times.
Much as they tried, they could not find a suitable buyer for the company. So the management persevered and reluctantly tried to turn things around. Boy! Did they do a fantastic job. What a turnaround? In less than a decade, Foodco has grown from that 1 branch to 8 branches in Ibadan and 1 branch in Lagos.
A few weeks before he passed on, I bumped into Dr Bash at the airport, I introduced him to someone I was speaking to and when he heard his name, the person asked if he was related to the Foodco lady, he smiled and said, She was his wife. The person said “she is an amazon, I thought Foodco was going to die when shoprite came to Ibadan”. Dr Bash, laughed heartily and said “Shoprite grew foodco”.
What a perspective? Foodco, always been giving up for dead, Foodco, always emerging better and stronger. Can this be said about us too when we encounter setbacks, failures and disappointments. May we keep emerging better and stronger.