Co-founders of the Local Merchant Store and event coordinators, Rousa Shikoha (28) and Ndeshimana Tosha Nghimwena (36) realised how much Namibia relies on imports during Namibia’s first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
“We thought about opening a store that makes it easier for the community to support local products and also give the manufacturers an opportunity to reach their consumers,” said Nghimwena.
The Local Merchant Store was officially launched on 3 October 2020 and is located at Funky Lab, 414 Independence Avenue, Windhoek. The merchandise comes from different parts of the country.
The store aims to provide a retail footprint for producers with an opportunity to market and sell their products to a wider market and to encourage locals to buy Namibian-made products.
The store is currently home to four employees and sells products from 25 Namibian vendors who are from all over the country with expertise in a variety of industries such as cosmetics, food, health, books and fashion.
Shikoha graduated with an honours degree in travel and tourism management, however, Nghimwena had to put her law studies with UNISA on hold for financial reasons.
The young entrepreneurs, who own a marketing company called Kufindi Consultants, made the decision to contribute to government’s efforts of economic development and employment creation by creating a proudly Namibian store that facilitates the selling of locally manufactured and produced goods.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved together. We hope the store will resonate with the public and they will see the benefits of buying locally-manufactured goods,” added Nghimwena.
Nghimwena said she hopes that by providing this type of platform, consumers will hear their voices, which will make them think twice about buying imported goods.
A local business, ASN Traditional Foods and Catering appreciated how the two businesswomen have provided an opportunity to market and display the business’ products at the local market day that happened recently. “ASN Traditional Foods and Catering has grown after the local market day, we are grateful for this great opportunity given us,” said owner Sunday Nampala.
The Merchant Store has so far hosted three marketing events where the public was given access to the different manufacturers.