Nakayiza grew her business from two crates of beer

Sunday October 6 2019

Prossy Nakayiza plans to expand the business

Prossy Nakayiza plans to expand the business early next year. PHOTOS BY EDGAR R. BATTE 

By Edgar R. Batte

She grew up with a dream to be self-employed. On completion of a certification in hotel management, Prossy Nakayiza, got employed at Serona Hotel in Kyotera, Masaka.
There, a client admired her customer care service and offered her a job to work as a supervisor at his fuel station. She was later promoted to manage the station.

During her service there, she did not lose track of her aspiration. She saved part of her salary and started a grocery shop. She quit the job and attended to the shop.
Nakayiza saved more and later established Meeting Point Bar, in 2010, housed within a container.
Located along the highway, the hangout is a busy spot, attracting anyone and everyone, including political leaders of Masaka District as well as artistes who stop by to relax especially ahead of performances in the district.
Meeting Point Bar has an array of drinks with front seats under palazzos. If you would like something to cheat the hunger, Nakayiza will get you some roasts or pan-fried meaty options.

Secret weapon
Her customer care is one of the reasons that has sustained the business. She is an amiable, calm and composed person with good interpersonal skills. She brings the notion of service with a smile, to life.
To establish the hangout, she invested Shs700,000, part of which she used to pay rent, leaving her almost no money.
Like luck would have it, a one Robinah, who had been seeing her seeming puzzled on how to kick-start her enterprise, she came in and offered a solution.
Robinah operated a drinks’ depot, so she offered to give Nakayiza drinks on credit. She would later pay after making sales. She was given a start-up push of two crates of beer, one crate of soda and a box of mineral water.
She paid back the first stock and Robinah willingly gave her more drinks since it was a mutually beneficial commercial arrangement. During her first days, a customer who later introduced himself as Martin Kiweewa parked at her shop with five friends and supported her business by taking a number of drinks.

Within a short time, her beer stock was emptied. She was overjoyed so she rang Robinah for more four crates of beer. More customers started flocking Meeting Point, in effect realising business sense for her.
It grew by referral. “My new customers kept introducing others every new day and Robinah was more than willing to support me,” she recalls, adding that radio presenter Patrico Mujuuka was pivotal in promoting her business.
“In the beginning the place was open to all types of customers but later as I went on polishing up, the place attracted classy customers and this has saved me from losing important customers,” the business woman explains.
Along the way, a challenge presented in form of district architects who wanted to raze down her place. She chose to relocate to a container structure. She has since expanded to offer more.

Clients having a snack at the Meeting Point.
Clients having a snack at the Meeting Point.

Besides selling soft drinks, beers, wines, spirits, she also deals in men’s garments, shoes and ladies’ shoes as well as beddings, perfumes, deodorants, children shoes and clothes.
“I study my customers thoroughly and I’m always keen on taking advice. Customers are equally treated. I make sure the place is tidy. I have respect for my customers. I treasure my customers. My services are efficient,” she spells out way through which she maintains the clientele base.
She opens the bar in the morning and closes when the last customer bows out. There are days she works almost 24 hours and only returns home to shower and change clothes.
“I don’t chase away customers as working all night compensates for the bad days. The good thing is I have guaranteed security.”
How much do you pay yourself as a salary? I ask her.
“I have no specific salary. At the end of month, I restock and pay all my bills and what I realise as balance is what I spend on myself and the family. I am patient. I save some money towards future dreams. I am faithful too.” Sacrifice is one of the lessons she has leant.


Best moment
The highest amount she has earned is Shs9m which she used to acquire her first car. Her biggest loss was a double robbery, in a month.
“The second one left the pub in total negative and almost cost the life of the girl who slept in the back room,” she recollects.

The challenges she faces include bad debtors, the ever-rising commodity prices and at times scarcity, working long hours, cut off from social life, insecurity from women who hang out with their men as well as men who mistake her for a ‘love vendor’.
The way she deals with such challenges is being self-confident and maintaining self-respect with control of her temper, keeping her focus on her. She would like to rise as a business woman with a dream of starting a hotel in Masaka.
“With God on my side, I will keep focused and determined, one day I will have the land attained and slowly by slowly make the dream practical.” She adds that she has learnt business requires a lot of sacrifice.
Away from business, Nakayiza is a mother of three: nine-year-old Rogers, six-year-old Robert and five-year-old Raymond. “I love my boys a lot and have single-handedly raised them. I am determined to make them responsible and educated,” she discloses.