Mopani Pharmacy: A thirty year success story

Mopani Pharmacy recently celebrated its 30th birthday. From, what can be termed as, humble beginnings in the eighties to the established Mopani brand that the community has learned to trust and embrace today, Mopani has continued to grow from strength to strength. Here’s a look at some highlights of the Mopani success story:

Mopani first opened its doors on 24 March 1982 in the Pick ‘n Pay centre in Nelspruit. The store was 100 square meters big with a staff complement of five. In those days computers were still a novelty and Managing Director and founder of Mopani, Rob Gibbs, recalls how they had to record prescriptions by hand and typed the labels on a typewriter. When the company’s first computer eventually arrived in 1984, it had a 20KB hard drive and all back-ups were done on floppy disks!

In 1987 the pharmacy was enlarged, which enabled Mopani to launch a photo lab within the store. The staff grew to 13 with two pharmacists on duty! A further 500 square meters was added to the existing premises in 1992 and the photo lab was relocated into the mall. The additional space enabled them to launch their first in-store primary health-care clinic with two consulting rooms and a full time sister. A new concept for Mopani’s fragrance and cosmetics department was also adopted which allowed customers for the first time to select their fragrances and cosmetics from the open shelf without waiting for a cabinet to be unlocked.

Mopani’s relocation in July 2003 to their new existing premises of some 1700 square meters at the then newly built Crossing Centre, heralded a new era for the company. The move literally took them out into the Lowveld sun and enabled the pharmacy to truly blossom. Since then a number of services and initiatives have been implemented – all aimed at enhancing customers’ experiences and forging the company’s reputation as a trusted, established community pharmacy.

The Mopani Card was introduced in July 2008, rewarding shoppers with points every time they choose to shop with them. Mopani’s esteemed Baby Club was launched in 2009 and later that year a dedicated sports, nutrition and slimming mezzazine level was added to the premises. A second store was opened at I’Langa Mall in April 2010, offering the same level of superior service and product range that the Lowveld has by now come to expect of Mopani.

Today, 30 years after opening their doors for the first time, Mopani Pharmacy employs more than 150 team members with Gibbs still at the helm. “I look forward to the next chapter in the life of this company… I believe a company that has brought life and wholeness to many and I thank God for all He has done and for all He will keep on doing,” concludes Gibbs.


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