Abotle’s juicy story

Tshepo Kehimile
GOING INTERNATIONAL: Gabalebatse
Local distribution company strikes international deal

The distribution company, Abotle Distributors, has scored itself a lucrative deal with a North American beverage entity- Makassi Beverages, to distribute its fruit juice across the Southern African region.

Beaming with a smile this week as he spoke to Voice Money, Abotle Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Gabalebatse,49, said he was proud of the deal which will see the company distributing the products until 2025.

Established in 2020, distributing products such as milk and Sanitary pads, Abotle Distributors has come a long way and if the new deal is anything to go by, they may well be destined for a greater future.

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Gabalebatse says the international distribution deal has been the highlight of their success story thus far.

“We are a 100 percent citizen-owned distribution company which started from humble beginnings back in 2020 and the Makassi juice deal can be safely listed as one of our biggest achievements and we are certain that this project will be a success,” said the proud founder of Abotle.

To ensure the success of the business, Gabalebatse says he has partnered with his long-time friend who is well experienced in the retail industry.

“I decided to partner with my friend, Emmanuel Bane, who works as the Operations Director as he previously worked for big retail companies such as Sefalana, Multichoice, and Eureka just to mention a few which is an added advantage for us since I am a teacher by profession but a diligent leader to this company,” said Gabalebatse.

The Abotle Distributors CEO revealed that their relationship with Makassi Beverages is growing so fast that the American company is looking to establish a manufacturing plant in Southern Africa, preferably in Botswana.

“Our relationship with Makassi Beverages is going to help grow the economy of the country as our aim is to set up a manufacturing plant in Selebi-Phikwe which will surely help the economy of the town that was badly affected by the closure of BCL,” said the Mahalapye native.

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Gabalebatse says they have already engaged the Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) as well as Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) about the prospect of the juice manufacturing plant.

While Abotle has encountered some setbacks along the way, Gabalebatse is not deterred and remains optimistic about the future.

“Our biggest problem was lack of funding as this particular business requires lots of finances. Importing these juices have been problematic as the prices have gone up due to Covid-19, but we have managed to pull through,” he said, adding the product is now being distributed to South Africa and Nambia in addition to Botswana.

Locally, this product is found at Rodizio Restaurant, all SaveRite stores, Maun Lodge, and Kaytees restaurant while arrangements are being made to supply filling stations.

With the market full of well-established fruit juices, Gabalebatse says they are prepared for the competition.

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“We don’t fear competition because the juice we are distributing is 100 percent juice with no sugar added, no preservatives and it is not from concentrate which is healthier compared to other juices that are in the market,” Gabalebatse proudly noted, confidently predicting that his enterprise will reach greater heights in the next two or three years.

Gabalebatse says they have sub-contracted other companies to distribute the juices on their behalf as a way of empowering them.

“In total, we have at least 18 workers who include some of our subcontractors who are in charge of distributing this product in different parts of the country like Francistown, Maun, and Serowe,” concluded Gabalebatse.

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