HAVING to balance a career in insurance for almost 15 years while growing her business has finally paid off for a Walmer deli owner.
Sandi Holmes started Westvill Deli in 1999 and worked as an insurance broker until last year, when she finally bid the corporate world goodbye.
“I started the business as a side income but could only stop doing insurance last year when I did not need the additional income,” Holmes said.
Originally from the Karoo, Holmes, sources ostrich and game meat and meat products for her popular Walmer deli from the Karoo “where all good things come from”.
“I really enjoy working in the shop and I am glad that I can finally focus on just the business. We have built up a couple of regular customers over the years who have become our friends. “The success of the shop is in the variety of products offered because we try to cater for as many different tastes as possible.
“People are also a lot more health conscious nowadays and game and ostrich are the leanest red meats you will find. It has now become a lifestyle and personal preference to eat lean red meat and ours does not have any hormones or by-products in it,” Holmes said.
She employs four staff members and supplies meat to some of the top restaurants in the region, including Wicker Woods, De Kelder, Isango Gate, as well as Hazel’s Organic Country Kitchen in Addo.
Even some of the game parks and several guesthouses order meat from Holmes, and she said she also has a few overseas and Gauteng clients.
She started the business when she heard of the opportunity to sell game through her brother, Charl de Villiers, who works for a game export company. Her business success has grown slowly and steadily through the deli’s variety of products and Karoo-based suppliers.
Westvill Deli sells every type of game from springbok, wildebeest, impala, eland, zebra and warthog but Holmes emphasises that she only sells culled meat and does not buy hunted game.
Possibly a strange item to sell at a deli, Holmes says, is the premium dog food Ostripet, of which she is the sole Port Elizabeth agent. A similar product gets exported by the Mossel Bay producer of the dog food.
“People regularly buy ostrich meat from us to cook for their dogs because it is very good food for dogs with skin problems and allergies. The dried ostrich dog food has been very popular and is reasonably priced.”
To introduce this product to the PE market she hand delivered samples of the dog food to homes in the city over weekends until word of mouth spread.
Holmes also sells luxury mohair duvets from the Karoo at the deli along with interesting meat products like zebra fillet, venison pies or warthog sosaties. – Cindy Preller