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Community and commitment: How Jawitz has redefined relationships

Community and commitment: How Jawitz has redefined relationships

MAIN IMAGE: Herbie De Klerk, Belinda Hickson, Michele Gravett and Cheryl Petzer


Finding the value in partnerships and a shared vision that puts people at the forefront of property

Eskel Jawitz started Jawitz Properties in the late 1960s to fill a very real need in the property market – providing people with the guidance and support they needed when buying a home. Today, that ethos permeates every facet of the business, from the founding members through to the myriad franchisees across South Africa, each one focusing on how best to help people find their perfect home. For Herbie de Klerk, owner of Jawitz in Kuilsriver, the move into the Jawitz fold was driven as much by the brand as by its commitment to family and community.

“We wanted to work with a company that had a strong vision and belief system, one that had a family ethos we could relate to,” he adds. “Jawitz was a brand we wanted to be part of; it was not too commercialised and had a welcoming culture with approachable people who could help us achieve our business goals.”

This is a sentiment shared by Belinda Hickson, a Jawitz franchisee in Midrand, who opted into working with Jawitz because it felt that she was buying into a family business, not just a franchise.

“Everyone in the company communicates, and the marketing department is outstanding,” she continues. “There are a lot of property franchises where they are just machines with no people at the end of the phone. With Jawitz, I can call Herschel Jawitz if there’s a problem – everyone pulls together to make our business a success.”

It’s rare that a company puts so much effort into supporting its franchisees, but for Jawitz, this is part and parcel of the community the company wants to create and how it envisions success. Cheryl Petzer and business partner Michele Gravett, a Jawitz franchisee in East London, points out that it all boils down to leadership. Jawitz leadership is in touch with people and is concerned about franchisee success stories.

“Many companies have CEOs or leaders that sit in their ivory towers, rarely connecting with what’s happening around them,” the partners say together. “At Jawitz, the founder, Eskel, still sits in on training and presentations and is interested in the business. It is a tremendously impactful thing for us – we feel like they will always have a thorough understanding of what we’re experiencing and our jobs.”

The brand built by Eskel Jawitz remains very much in force and is a powerful driver of franchisee success stories, but there is more to the business than the community. It is also the fact that the company lives its values. At a time when a commitment to people, honesty and authenticity are rare commodities, Jawitz upholds them throughout the business and its dealing with franchisees.

“They live their values; these are not just something they put on the walls,” affirm Cheryl and Michele. “This is really important to us because in our business, we help people find their homes, so treating people with respect needs to sit at the heart of how we do business. Jawitz upholds this ethos, and they remain purposeful and committed.”

Reflected in this authenticity and approachability is the shared commitment to franchisee success stories. Herbie adds, “I wanted to have my own business, but also, I wanted support and backing, which is exactly what Jawitz gave me. How we are growing, we have new targets and new offices, and I am still excited about my future with this franchise.”

For Jawitz franchisees, the brand’s value extends well beyond its reputation. It lies in how quickly the company turns to help franchisees find their footing in new markets, expand their territories, learn new approaches, and discover their potential. Growth within the Jawitz brand is a shared success story.

“Working with Jawitz is so different compared with competitors,” concludes Herbie. “We are a family, we work hard, play hard and celebrate each other’s success which makes us all feel like we’re on the path to personal and professional success.”

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