Masvingo residents could not withhold their excitement when the doors of the newly-built store were opened in July 2010 to join the other OK outlets in the newly re-launched OK Grand Challenge. This gave the market the first glance at the new image towards which OK Zimbabwe was pushing.
A few months later, Kwekwe was to receive an early Christmas present with the opening of the refurbished OK Kwekwe branch in October 2010. The re-opening was received with great excitement as residents came to experience the new store even after normal trading hours.
On December 23 of the same year, the former OK Second Street became Bon Marché Belgravia and opened its doors to the public in time for Christmas. The re-branding was a result of a market survey that indicated that the Bon Marché would be well-received in that market. Since opening its doors, its performance has been testimony to this. Residents of Belgravia and its environs, and drive-through traffic to Mazowe Road have used the store as a popular shopping stop.
The refurbishment drive continued the next year with work being undertaken concurrently on OK Queensdale, OK Avonlea and OK Chiredzi. OK Chiredzi was the first to open its doors to the public setting a new standard in the small town. The opening event received support as the public recognised the store as an investment that enhanced the status of the town. OK Queensdale offered shoppers along Chiremba Road a new and up-market option for their doing their grocery shopping, while the residents of Avonlea and Greencroft showed their support by visiting their store in numbers.
While the renovations continued, a new development resulted in the birth of a new store brand, OKmart, with one branch in Harare and another in Bulawayo. The opening of the two outlets made them the only two-mega stores in the country offering everything that a home might need. The stores opened their doors to the public on March 31 2011.
In the short time since their opening, the OKmart stores have gradually changed shopping habits as customers have realised there is truly no need to cross borders anymore as everything is available locally at competitive prices. The two stores have been likened to other mega-stores on the international market.
During 2011 there was a great deal of activity around the Bon Marché stores with refurbishments and renovations taking place in three of the already existing stores, namely Bon Marché Mt. Pleasant, Bon Marché Borrowdale and Bon Marché Chisipite. This made five of the seven Bon Marché stores new generation stores, with Bon MarchéAvondale and Bon Marché Eastlea still on the cards for the future.
OK Kwame Nkrumah is the most recent addition to the new look OK stores and has shown potential in its infancy. OK Zimbabwe Ltd is set to continue its refurbishment during the new financial year. While these efforts benefit the OK group, they also benefit the wider community as they set a new standard for the retail sector in Zimbabwe.