From a hotel famed for its calamari to a car wash where you can also get a haircut, these local businesses are getting it right

The 12 Most Loved Local businesses in South Africa have been revealed in a bespoke research report that also found great service was the number one reason we fall in love with a business. The second biggest factor was quality of products, with value for money coming in third. Unsurprisingly all 12 of the top businesses stood out for their exceptional service.

The Most Loved Local Businesses across 12 categories were named as:

  1. Place to Stay: Chapmans Peak Hotel(Cape Town) – the one with the perfect calamari 
  2. Eatery: Marble(Johannesburg) – the one with the celebrity chef in the kitchen
  3. Butcher: The Butcher Man(Cape Town) – the one that people cross town for
  4. Bakery: Fournos(Johannesburg) – the one that is way more than a bakery
  5. Spa: Rouge Day Spa(Cape Town) – the one run by a dynamic mother-daughter team 
  6. Entertainment Spot: Gold Reef City(Johannesburg)  – the one with the heart of gold
  7. Gym: Dream Body Fitness(Johannesburg) – the one that is completely unintimidating to work out at
  8. Interior Designer: By Dezign Interiors(Johannesburg) – the one that really, really gets its clients’ style
  9. Market: Bryanston Organic & Natural Market(Johannesburg) – the one that was an organic market before it was trendy to be an organic market
  10. Laundromat: Exclusive Dry Cleaners(Johannesburg) – the one that treats every single client like family
  11. Car Wash: Tubbs’s Car Wash(Johannesburg) – the one that cleans your car while you have a haircut
  12. Construction company: Radon Projects(Pretoria) – the one that is ready all day and all night

The independent research, commissioned by Santam, used a combination of digital listening tools and traditional research. Social media listening using organic search analysis looked into which business categories were being searched for most. This was followed up with a trend analysis to assess whether a business category was growing in popularity, keyword volume analysis to refine the categories and finally social listening within the categories which businesses were being spoken about in the most positive terms. 

In phase two, a respected independent research house World Wide Worxsurveyed 2,489 South Africans using a chatbot platform via Facebook Messenger to find out what makes South Africans fall in love with the local business. The sample was nationally representative and aligned to the economically active population per province.

Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worxsays, “40% of research respondents fell in love with a business for its service. This was followed by quality products at 18%. And third place was value for money, at 10%. Businesses that offer all three are on to something special.”

Unsurprisingly, all 12 of the winners placed service very high on their priority list, without taking their eye off the ball of delivering quality at the right price. 

George and Theo Parpottas, who own Exclusive Dry Cleaners, have been in operation for 38 years and employ 60 people. “In some instances, we are servicing the fifth generation in a family. We develop good relationships with our clients. We create that relationship before we even do any dry cleaning. We also work very hard at keeping our quality good and consistent. You can have a good relationship but if your quality is not good, they won’t come back.”

Mother and daughter Lindsay Collocott and Avril Cumminshave been running Cape Town’s Rouge Day Spafor five years. “We’ve always said that we don’t work on Sundaysor work late. We don’t compromise that time so our team can have a work / life balance. We also only use reputable products – we don’t compromise on that either. We also don’t compromise on good service.” 

For Gary Karycou, who co-owns Marblein Rosebank with celebrity chef David Higgs, “We employ for attitude. You get the basic skills but if someone really wants to learn, you can transform them.” He continues, “Giving the best service to our clients, is our motto. It’s something that’s lacking in South Africa and even globally. Businesses just become a bit complacent.”

Shaun Meziek, owner of Radon Projects, the winning construction company, says, “We eat, sleep, and breathe Radon Projects so being recognised by the public in this way is a big accomplishment for us. We focus on keeping our existing clients happy and keeping our feelers out. We love this business and everyone here is like family.”

Famed Green Point butchery and restaurant,The Butcher Man, is owned by Arie Fabiani. He says people will drive past other butcheries and come all the way to the Butcher Man because they deliver a great service. “Good service is critical and our team knows it. We communicate with every single person who comes in here.”

Celebrating local success

Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, Chief Marketing Officer at Santam, says the need for growth in this business sector is critical to turning around the South African economy, “Wewanted to celebrate those businesses getting it right, and allow others to learn from them. The research has strongly highlighted our vibrant and colourful business sector. There are so many amazing success stories. We truly hope our report will motivate more people to go into business or to lift their venture to the next level.” 

He concludes one of the goals for the report was to encourage South Africans to consciously think about choosing local over global wherever possible. “We’ll only really grow our local business sector if we all, as South Africans, make the effort to support local.”

For more information and to view the full Most Loved Local report, visit

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