This year, Battery Centre Port Elizabeth celebrates 25 years as a reliable supplier of quality batteries to the Eastern Cape automotive hub. The centre was opened in June 1990 by Andre Howitz, and has grown in strength and size, now serving a large client base in and around PE.
After building industrial batteries in East London for seven years, Howitz and his wife, Jillian, moved to Port Elizabeth and opened the first Battery Centre in the area in June 1990. The pair faced obstacles from the outset.
“When we first opened in PE, our customers didn’t know the product at all, and didn’t understand the value in it, which made for a very daunting start,” says Howitz.
Armed with unapologetic determination, Howitz and his wife worked tirelessly to get the centre off the ground. They had only a handful of employees, so did most of the work themselves, but relied on friendly service and quality batteries to make a name for themselves.
“Our approach to business has always been grounded in honesty and integrity,” explains Howitz. “This has played a huge role in our success.” After their first Battery Centre gained a loyal client base, Howitz and his wife decided to open a second outlet in Newton Park and then Knysna.
Howitz maintains the key to longevity in the retail space is exceptional employees. “I’m only as good as the people I surround myself with – my team is integral in the maintenance of each Battery Centre,” says Howitz.
With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, Howitz has seen the market change fundamentally since he started out. “The vehicles of today are so much more advanced and demanding that they were years ago – Bluetooth, immobilisers, alarms, sound systems and onboard computers – but luckily our supplier, First National Battery, continues to produce world-class batteries that keep up with the ever-changing needs of modern technology.”
Howitz hopes to see his Battery Centres grow and flourish in the years to come, and remains as dedicated to offering the best possible service and class-leading products as he did 25 years ago.
“It’s all about having a winning combination – which takes years of hard work to achieve – and that’s a reliable supplier, a team that’s willing to go above and beyond, and the integrity to treat customers the way you’d like to be treated,” concludes Howitz.
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