Fia Sapolu may have started small but her business isn’t so small these days.
First it was a little grocery store with the simple commodities then eventually she branched out to the most popular type of eatery on the market in Samoa – she set up a BBQ stand.
From the village of Vaitele-Uta, Fia says she started from very humble beginnings and along the way, there have been the expected struggles and triumphs which may help others.
Her story was told as one of the winners of the S.B.E.C. Awards that was hosted at Taumeasina Island Resort last Saturday night.
The support from S.B.E.C. was all important to this hardworking businesswoman.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank S.B.E.C.’s management for initiating this special event which recognises all small businesses owners and their developments.” she said.
“To my husband and children thank you for your support, this award is for all of you.”
“I know it’s not easy, there are pros and cons along the way but with God, everything is possible.”
Ms. Sapolu approached S.B.E.C. for assistance to expand her BBQ outlet a new project aside from the store in 2006 while renting at Vaitele Three Corners.
Operations were then split.
She then set up another branch close to Vaitele Primary School.
“We always looked at what is best for the community and for us as well, and we also employed youths.”
“I believe it’s all part of God’s faithfulness in our lives. The thing is, we have lots of opportunities and we have to make good use of them.”
“Once again, thank you S.B.E.C.!”
Last year, she opened her new shop combined shop called Fia’s Minimart and BBQ Shop.
Afamasaga and Fia Sapolu said, “Our new shop here is much bigger, so therefore we are able to provide a vast variety of goods for our future customers.”
“Also, we were ready to extend our business by simply moving it to a better and bigger location”, Fia explained. Indeed, the shop attracted earlybird shoppers from the first day it was officially opened. The entrance was decorated with a huge number of colourful balloons.
“We have to do all the price tagging for our newly delivered goods but at the same time, somebody must have an eye on our customer’s welfare and the checkout area also has to be looked after, so that’s why our sons help us out a little bit”.
And the difficulties that come along with the shop opening in Vaitele are not as hard as one might expect them to be.
“Of course there are other shops in the area we have to compete with.”
“But we just have to see how this turns out for us, as we just now opened the shop.”
“For us, it is certainly an advantage to provide the opportunity for the customers to actually select the goods they want to buy by walking through our shop, so this might be much easier for us to manage.”
But the newly opened shop in Vaitele not only offers goods for the customers, in a separate room right next to the shop, a new barbecue restaurant is included, offering a delicious variety of meat specialties for hungry grocery shoppers.
“With our barbecue, we can provide freshly grilled meat for the customers to take away and we operate six days a week.”
They attribute their support network to ‘family’.