By Prudence Minayo
Samuel Maingi is the proprietor of Saris Hardware named after him and his wife Rispa. According to a Business Daily article, by 2013, the hardware had business assets worth hundreds of millions for a monthly income. The same publication also reported that the entrepreneur traded in stocks valued between Ksh20 million and Ksh 30 million. His business was birthed out of retrenchment. Although his businesses went down, his determination and hardwork are virtues worth being emulated by would be entrepreneurs.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
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Soon after graduating with a diploma in Civil Engineering, Mr. Maingi secured a job with one of the leading companies in the country, Bamburi Cement. He was employed as a salesperson earning between Sh20,000 to Sh40,000 monthly depending on the commission.
This job did not last as long as he had anticipated. In 2001, the then 27-year-old was among those who were retrenched.
This is how he decided to get into the hardware business. Partnering with his wife, they set up their cement retail business in Kitengela. Armed with Sh70,000 from their savings, he opened Saris. He got into the cement industry since it was a product he understood. As a salesperson, he had gotten the chance to interact with numerous hardware owners across the country.
The first pick up they bought was a second hand one three years after the business began. It took them about two years for profits to be realized.
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What started as a retail business has grown into a wholesale and distribution business. While the main branch is nestled in Kitengela, other branches are in Matuu and Machakos. It has also grown from 2 employees (him and his wife) to over 30 employees. To cater for their employee’s needs, they have a strong Human Resource Department based on strong family ethics. The owner said they have stayed with some of their employees since the early years of the business.
“For the last 10 years we have never lost a permanent employee because our staff are mostly satisfied with the treatment and the motivation. We value our workers and give them the respect they deserve,” he said in a 2013 interview.
Today, the hardware distributes cement, metallic products, tanks, tinting machines, paint iron sheets and twisted bars among other things to various retailers. Their major challenge was large interest rates. He explained that in order to construct, most people acquire loans. When the interest rates increased, it slows the building industry.
Despite the success, he ran into trouble in 2019. Samuel Maingi Mwangi was arrested and charged for fraudulently obtaining hardware goods worth Sh15,472,779, the reported the Standard. According to police, he got the goods from Tuffsteel company pretending he was in a position to pay for the items. Instead, he issued post dated cheques as payment yet his account lacked enough money to pay for the goods. He denied the allegations and was released on a Sh2 million cash bail or surety bond of Sh4 million. The article also revealed he was a pastor with a church in Kitengela.