When we talk about people who make a difference to the lives of others, Frankie Cai’s name is not one that would immediately pop up.
But if the provision of jobs and helping to lower the cost goods is a prerequisite, Mr. Cai is an obvious choice. Come to think of it, in a year where Samoa sorely needed more jobs after the closure of Yazaki Eds, Mr. Cai was among the first local companies to respond and delivered.
The 47-year-old Chinese businessman, who has been serving Samoa for more than 25 years, has quickly become one of Samoa’s biggest private employers.
With ten local supermarkets, he has more than 700 Samoans on his pay roll. A number of them were people made redundant when Yazaki shut its door.
But he wasn’t always the high profile businessman that he is today.
Mr. Cai came to Samoa as a young boy in his early 20s to work as a delivery boy for his uncle, who at the time owned a local store.
Prior to coming to Samoa, he worked for two trading companies in his homeland, China. It was there, he said, made him realise his passion in commercial activities.
He had no clue where Samoa was. But when he arrived, he noticed the lack of infrastructure development, especially the roads when he had to travel to Savai’i and around the island to deliver goods.
Like any tourists falling in love with the island life, Mr. Cai not only decided to stay, he made the decision to start a business.
“After my uncle, I decided to run a retail company,” he said.
“This didn’t really work out well because the turnover was not really good. Most of the time when I used to take ordered supplies to the stores around the island, they do not pay on time and it wasn’t very good for the business. The return wasn’t good.”
But he did not give up. He persevered.
Mr. Cai attributes the success of his supermarkets and the idea to enter the wholesale market to all his employees and those who were involved in the inception of the first supermarket.
----Article From Samoa Observer (By Iva Nataro ,