Set to open in October 2021, The Marble Group’s The Pantry by Marble will be an entirely new concept for a forecourt convenience store. The Group has partnered with Sasol and will take over the management of one of their flagship petrol stations and retail offerings – located on Jan Smuts Avenue, just underneath Marble restaurant.

“Although the local hospitality industry has taken huge strain over the last 18 months, we still feel there is opportunity,” says Gary Kyriacou, co-founder and partner of The Marble Group. “The Pantry diversifies our Group offering in the sector and positions us well for future growth.”

A hybrid model of a supermarket, deli, take-away and retail store; The Pantry will be a speciality grocery store which offers consumers curated grocery items including quality fresh produce, ready-to-go meals, bakery items, flowers, wine and everyday essentials along with a bespoke retail selection. An App for local deliveries is also under construction.

Chef David Higgs has been working alongside former head chef of Saint, Tyler Clayton, to develop the deli and ready-made food offerings; and Irene Kyriacou has project managed the interior design and retail offering. Dino Constantinou, operations director for the Group, has been leading the eCommerce and App development.

Globally, the convenience industry has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and related lockdowns. The pandemic has forced the local retail industry to evolve to make it even easier for consumers to choose, pay and receive their goods with maximum ease.

PayPal, the global money transfer company, reports that is has seen a huge shift to consumers supporting their local community shops and brands. In fact, it states that “46% are shopping in closer neighbourhood stores and 80% feel more or as connected to their communities. Meanwhile, 88% expect these connections to remain long after the crisis is over.”

“Now, while customers can visit the Sasol petrol station to fill up their cars, they can also choose from an incredible range of gourmet ready-to-go offerings from an elevated forecourt shopping experience,” Kyriacou concludes. “Convenience will always be key, but quality and experience are things that won’t be sacrificed.”

Kyriacou hopes that the concept could be rolled out to other flagship Sasol locations across the country in future.

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