Family property wrangles have crippled many business empires in Kenya, but not so with Nyandarua’s Mbote brothers.
The three brothers and their wives have used unity lessons from their late mother to build the multi-million shilling Golden Eagle Spur Ranches on Kiambu Road.
The Sh100 million facility, a South African franchise, was launched recently.
Simon Mbote, one of the proprietors, says the franchise is licensed to offer outside catering, with special deliveries where all one needs to do is a dial and enjoy spur meals from the comfort of their sitting room.
“The journey towards this success has been long and rocky. It started a long time right at the slopes of Aberdare where we were born and brought up at Mairo-inya village in Nyandarua County. We were brought up by a very hardworking mother teaching us the essence of running after your dream until you achieve them,” says Peter, who previously worked as a waiter in several hotels before.
The spur business idea was mooted during lunches the brothers had with families in hotels where they used to admire what they could see.
“Any time we arrived we were forced to queue outside; we were never allowed to get inside. Then we ended up constructing hotel Loswani Place where the Golden Eagle Spur Ranches stands today. Loswani place was closed down when we managed to get a licence for the franchise after years of trials, it has been quite a challenging journey,” says Peter.
The biggest challenge was financing. Not many banks were willing to fund the development until they presented a proposal to Tower Sacco, a Nyandarua-based financial institution with branches in various parts of the country.
Other partners are Peter Mbote, a drilling engineer working in Mozambique, and James Mbote, the managing director at Oil Filed Movers Limited.
Peter says the business plan and development have kept the family united, using the lessons taught by their late mother, who incidentally died on the day the hotel officially opened a few days ago.
“Every family has its challenges. But bottom line, there lies some basic principles or values that are instilled by the parents. My mother taught us to work as a team. Right from the beginning, we used to graze together. We went to the land together and our mum would give us a huge part of the land to till and we won’t go home until we finish; it didn’t matter who was faster, we had to finish together to go home, that was a rule,” says Peter.
It never mattered whether they divided it to equal potions among themselves, the idea was they must work together, uplifting each other.
“Nevertheless, we still have what I would call family challenges that we address the way they should be addressed. In case there is any challenge among ourselves and it doesn’t matter whatever it is, or who started it, we have learnt to separate between family issues and business, that is the thing. We work as a family that’s what we learnt from the word go,” says James.
And going by the success and lessons learnt from this facility, the family has a five-year strategic plan to have not less than 10 similar facilities running across the country, and are already scouting for potential areas, Ol Kalou Town in Nyandarua being the next stop.
“We are moving across the region. We do not want to concentrate our business in Nairobi. We intend to follow devolution. Obviously, you know, as we grow as a country, more resources will be devolved. Our thinking that the migration from rural areas to urban areas is going to reduce as devolution grows thus creating more purchasing power in the regions,” says James.
He gives the example of developed countries like China who have developed in their places but are now looking for countries that are growing, a concept the family intends to embrace through devolution.
“Kenyans need to think out of the box and move their businesses to the people because, eventually, people will be able to get resources from the county levels and they will need someplace to spend those resources. That is the concept we seek to pursue in our strategic plan,” says James.
Golden Eagle Spur Ranches has two conference facilities, modern restaurants which include family dining where one can hold kids parties.
Peter says the selection of Spur was done based on uniqueness in family orientation and location to residential units occupied by young families.
“When you think about a business you have to think who your clients are and what their needs are. The concept was inspired by the location and we are also the only stand-alone Spur in Kenya. Others are found in malls,” says Peter.