“Hello my name is Michael Rodokanakis, a proud Smutby, and this is a small Smutby story: On the 1st March, I was in the process of moving my restaurant to the central CBD in Cape Town. This turned out to be fortuitous timing, as I had closed my existing store and was about to sign a new lease when the effects of the COVID19 virus on most industries swept through the country and the meltdown of this (and other industries) took place in a matter of days. Some of the businesses about to be hit by this tidal wave were friends and suppliers of mine, and mostly in the food and beverage industry.
In a mere two weeks from March 1st, the restaurant business went from thriving to barely surviving. On the 17th March, I was speaking to a friend from Jhb who had just expanded to Cape Town and was now facing the closure of his just-opened business. Being a part of the Smutby community, I had an idea – with so many amazing people in Smutby, there must be a solution! I phoned Rob Hersov (I had never actually met him) and said I thought there was an opportunity to connect the Cape Town and Winelands Smutby’s (and others) with top quality produce off the farms, direct to home.
This idea would, on the one hand, help save the produce supply businesses (who had lost their restaurant trade) while, on the other hand, deliver wholesale-priced fresh produce direct to Smutby’s at home. We spit-balled the idea for roughly 5 mins and Rob said he thought it was a great idea, and a sort of “farm to home” project – and that name stuck. Two days later I was sitting at the vineyard hotel at Rob’s invitation with Mmusi Maimane, Sander le Bon and Jessica Boonstra (none of whom I had met before), discussing how we could all help one other to help other people on a much bigger scale. (That meeting was also the genesis of the OneSA sanitizer-to-township project, which has been a huge success). Jessica delivers food to townships (1,000 customers ordering via WhatsApp) and has a growing business.
And, only two weeks to the day, after phoning Rob with an idea, my new business was up and running and I was completing my first 10 deliveries in Jhb and Cape Town. At the end of the first full week of operation “farm to home” was delivering from Hout Bay to Paarl and Cape Town, and also from Pretoria to Germiston and Johannesburg. I could never have imagined this! As Yoda would have said: “the power of Smutby is great! Michael Rodokanakis
The next day, after I was done my business idea down and mapping it out, Rob introduced me to Dino Peros (designer of the Smutby logo) where, a mere day after I had briefed him on the concept and look and feel, he delivered the superb brand and logo of “farm to home”.