Its quite frightening when I look back at the last ten years. Ten years ago, almost to the day, Claudio and Werner approached me about getting involved with Salinas. At that stage it was an overgrown stand, luckily without Milkwoods, with a demolished house and a braai, which was a favorite place for the drug addicts and hookers. I took one look and said yes, I am in.
This week one of my staff reminded me that she was nearing her 5 years service, at which stage another two members of staff chirped, we are almost at 10 years. I wondered where this was leading, although I knew.
Then it came out , what do we get?
I reflected on the ten years, albeit it was brief and I was under pressure to respond.
I looked at the one member of staff, who is a senior chef in our kitchen today, and asked a question. Do you remember what you were doing when I met you. Yes he said, I was manning the boom at the gate to the car park and we were charging people R10 per car to park there, and I was part of the working for the coast Government employment scheme, earning very little money.
Today he is one of my Kitchen supervisors, has expanded his home in Kleinkrans and owns a car. Years ago his wife thanked me for giving him an opportunity as well as her son.To which I replied thank them, they have earned it.
I still had not answered the question, but bought myself time to think.
Ten years ago was a tough time, we were experiencing the worst world recession since 1929, people told us we were mad. Local environmentalist swore over their dead bodies, that they would stop us from building anything.Yes you too Vernon. And then proceeded to love us and get us to fund the first Blue Flag Beach in the Garden Route! I have wondered off to the “herb garden” as a close friend likes to say. Back to the original story.
I looked at my staff and asked them what are they planning on giving me as a gift, for paying them on time every month, treating them like I like to be treated, with respect, complying with all the insane regulations that hamstring so many businesses in this country and generally looking after my family.
Which is what Salinas is, our family.
They all packed up laughing and we opened with smiles on our faces, reflecting on the time we had spent together. Somethings laughing, other times wanting to cry with disappointment, sweating in summer, being abused by some guest, but overall a satisfaction in knowing we have created a landmark, and every person had a part in it.