Raymond Ackerman, founder of the iconic Pick n Pay brand and South Africa’s favourite consumer champion, celebrates his 90th birthday on 10 March.
To mark the special milestone, Pick n Pay has launched a limited edition 100% recycled shopping bag – made from recycled plastic bottles. Available in two prints, one includes Pick n Pay’s earlier iconic blue striped shopping bag print and the other, a photo memory bag with special historic moments in the life of Pick n Pay.
Ackerman purchased the Pick n Pay supermarket group – then just four stores – in 1967 and grew it into the leading retailer it is today with over 1,900 corporate and franchise stores in South Africa and countries across Africa. This included launching South Africa’s first hypermarket in 1975.
18,000 bags will be available for sale in over 320 stores nationwide. The bag will cost R30 and proceeds will be donated to the Zama Dance School, a charity close to Ackerman’s heart.
Over 30 years ago, Ackerman established the Zama Dance School Trust to ensure a long-term future for the school. In the 1980s, Arlene Westergaard – a dancer from the age of three – wanted to provide a safe space to use the transformative powers of ballet and the discipline it brings to children from social and economically disadvantaged communities, then under the apartheid government. With the support of patron Ackerman, she successfully achieved this. Today, Zama Dance School caters for up to 100 disadvantaged students every year from age six to 17 years old.
One of South Africa’s most respected and honoured businessmen, Ackerman is most admired for always putting the consumer first and is well known for his philanthropy.
Ackerman’s ‘doing good, is good business’ philosophy was cultivated while studying commerce at university. He says, “We were taught that if you want to make money quickly, you won’t help society, you’ll just make money quickly. But if you care for society, people will value you.”
This shaped the way he’d go on to run Pick n Pay in the coming years – caring for societal issues and helping to solve South Africa’s problems, and more importantly, getting involved to make a difference.
Pick n Pay today continues to be driven by the three core values Ackerman established; the customer is queen, business efficiency and doing good is good business. Even in his retirement, he continues to be regarded as South Africa’s consumer champion and still endorses PnP’s range of private label products. Ackerman launched the retailer’s first private label, No Name, in 1976 to provide customers with good quality products at everyday affordable prices.