last updated 18/09/2020
Anchor Holds Firm
last updated 18/09/2020
Anchor franchisees give credit where credit is due
Grant Wilson says his business could have gone down the Covid-19 drain like spilt milk during the lockdown if he hadn’t had Anchor Milk behind him. ‘It gives us confidence that the franchise is well-prepared to support us through anything,’ he says.
Grant and wife Ariella have been Anchor franchisees since 2011. From a relatively small territory centred on Porirua, the couple have enjoyed strong revenue growth as they expanded throughout the whole of Wellington, including Hutt Valley, to create a multi-million dollar business.
The couple brought 26 years’ experience in the food service and supply/distribution industries when they came to New Zealand from South Africa. ‘We love working for ourselves, and being franchisees gives you the best of both worlds: you control your own destiny but have the comfort and security of a big brother to call on. With Anchor Franchise being part of the Fonterra Co-operative Group, brothers don’t come much bigger than this!’
Ensuring safety, ensuring business
Anchor franchisees operate independently-owned businesses supplying products such as Primo, Fresh N Fruity, Mammoth, Mainland, Kapiti and Calci-Yum, as well as Anchor itself. With milk and other dairy deliveries being declared an essential service at all levels, franchisees had to keep going throughout the crisis. ‘As much as the wage subsidy helped, it was the support we got that played a crucial role in getting us through,’ Grant says.
‘Fonterra organised all the PPE we needed, along with taking us through procedures to ensure the safety of our staff and customers. That allowed us to focus on customer service at a time when our customers were facing their own challenges. The franchise also helped devise the logistics of dividing our 18 staff into two teams working one week on, one week off. This contributed in no small way to our being able to pay all our staff their normal wages and keep our team together.
‘Then, every day throughout the lockdown, Fonterra called us with government updates, procedural adjustments and administration assistance to ensure we could continue servicing our reduced customer base. This high level of support continues to this day and will probably go on doing so until the virus is finally beaten.’
Grant and Ariella also have plenty of praise for their customers – the dairies, supermarkets, restaurants and cafés, as well as the chains that Anchor supplies nationally. ‘So many took the blows then bounced back post lockdown, particularly those prepared to think outside the box to give their businesses greater customer appeal.’
Sales bounce back
Grant says that his own business got back to pre-lockdown sales levels pretty quickly. ‘Having national clients to supply around Wellington helped, and we also picked up new customers to replace all those office-based corporates whose staff were still working from home,’ explains Grant.
‘Anchor’s reputation is a big plus which goes well beyond local ownership and brand recognition. People understand and appreciate Anchor’s community initiatives such as Milk for Schools, Local Legend and supporting food banks. There’s also the continued development of products that meet the needs of a generally more health-conscious society. Organic Blue is going strong for us with a2 Milk gaining traction and Zero Lacto is picking up nicely. At the same time flexibility within the franchise has allowed us to acquire and distribute non-dairy plant-based milk.
‘As well as products, Fonterra constantly streamlines supply chain logistics in ways to better benefit franchisee incomes. Our business and admin systems are also continuously upgraded to a level a sole trader could never hope to achieve.’
A name to trust
There are currently a number of Anchor Franchise opportunities around the country for people with the skills to operate a fast-moving distribution business. Investment levels range from $750,000 to $1,300,000.
Grant and Ariella are happy with the decision they made all those years ago. ‘Would we become Anchor franchisees all over again? Yes. Are we confident in Fonterra’s leadership? Again, yes. As much as people still drink milk during a pandemic or recession, it was Fonterra’s support that enabled our business to come through the last few months relatively unscathed. It’s a name to trust.’
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