The grocers of distinction, Thrupps, first opened a shop on the corner of Eloff and President Streets in 1892. The store occupied a number of premises in Johannesburg itself before a major move to the northern suburbs in 1947 to Rosebank which later became the headquarters in 1966. Throughout the 108 years, the Thrupp and Keene family connection with the store has also lasted for for three generations. In fact, client loyalty is only surpassed by its staff. Many have worked for over 40 years at Thrupps where they retire rather than resign. Recently 28 employees celebrated 784 years with Thrupps.
The store was one of the first members of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and has recently been presented with a clock by The First National Bank in honour of Thrupps' hundred-year-old account with the bank.
The grocery daily delivery service which still exists today was provided by horse drawn vehicles which were later replaced by motorised versions. This service, together with monthly accounts and the legendary food hampers, make Thrupps the unique South African grocery store for all times.
During the Boer War and the occupation of Johannesburg by the Boer forces, Thrupps was forced to close its doors for a short while but in April 1901, it reopened.
After World War II over one million food parcels were packed and posted to Britain, which meant an added work load of 1 000 parcels a day for four years. Among their food parcel clients were The Rt Hon. J. C. Smuts of Doornkloof, Irene, who sent supplies to Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty Queen Mary at Kensington Palace and Sir Winston Churchill at Hyde Park Gate, London.
Thrupps has always stocked a mixture of the best local produce and imported specialities. Founder Charles Thrupp soon discovered that the imported goods of the time were in great demand and by the early 1900's the cargo ships that sailed from the United Kingdom were laden with crates marked "Thrupps" and filled with assorted delicacies.
The old fashioned aroma of freshly ground coffee and sliced bacon still assails customers. Service and courtesy help maintain good customer relations. Where else, but Thrupps, would you find store directors manning tills during peak conditions?
Through carefully balancing old world values with modern technology and systems, Thrupps caters for a wide range of customers and is well placed to expand the service ethic which remains the cornerstone of their business.
The future will provide a service to remove the drudge shopping by delivery while enhancing the shopping entertainment values within the shop.