AN appetite for taking risks has taken Port Elizabeth businessman Dave Coleman from very humble beginnings to being the successful entrepreneur he is today.
Raised in Kabah in Uitenhage and Gelvandale in Port Elizabeth, Coleman went on to achieve success as an entrepreneur – which he attributed to having always being customer focused.
Not only did Coleman establish one of the most popular video rental businesses in PE’s northern suburbs, Dave’s Video Hire, he also expanded his business interests to include a Kekkel and Kraai outlet, and three commercial properties.
“I believe life is like a wheel, because all the things I did not have as a child I received as an adult – but I worked for it. If you work for something hard enough, you will receive it,” said Coleman.
Coleman was also recently honoured for his entrepreneurial skills, by receiving an award from Business Partners Limited.
Although Coleman has since sold his Kekkel and Kraai and Dave’s Video Hire outlets, he keeps busy by managing tenants in his commercial properties in the city. His tenants include the department of home affairs and department of social development. He also owns an occupational health company, Don Adams Occupational Health Services, which he runs with his wife, Chantelle.
“I was raised by my grandparents and my single mother, as my parents got divorced soon after I was born. My mother was very poor, so she applied for a grant and did not have to pay school fees. I was so embarrassed about this that I washed cars and did odd jobs to make up that money. I didn’t want anyone to know about her grant.”
It was at a young age that Coleman discovered a passion for movies.
“As an adult I went on to own a video hire business, and became the second biggest video dealer in the province at one point.”
After school, Coleman worked as an electrician, qualifying while working at Cadburys, but was later retrenched. Then, after being unemployed for a period in the late 1980s, he went on to work at Mosgas in Mossel Bay.
In 1992 he bought Algoa Video Hire in Gutch Street, Gelvan Park.
“The business had four previous owners and all had gone bankrupt. Everyone told me I was crazy and that I had made a horrible mistake.
“On the day we opened we made R14. On our first Friday we made R67. But I did not give up.”
Eventually Coleman managed to turn the business around, and soon it became one of the most popular video rental businesses in the city. Coleman then bought the premises that he ran his business from, a plot in West End – where he built a shopping complex, started another Dave’s Video Hire, and bought into the Kekkel and Kraai franchise.
“In 2005 I bought a vacant building on the corner of Bell Road and Springbok Street in Gelvandale. Everyone said it was a white elephant, but today government departments are my tenants in that building, as they wanted to be more accessible to the people of the northern areas”.
Coleman said although “access to finance” had always been his biggest challenge, God had “always been on my side”.
Dave’s tips for success
1. You must love what you do and be passionate about it – or else there is no point in doing it.
2. If you want it done properly, then do it yourself. Do not be the type of boss who leaves everything to your staff members.
3. Persevere. Do not give up, no matter how negative everyone else is about your success.