A Distributor's Success Story
Despite his age, Patrick Henry Ellis runs his company as a young entrepreneur, travelling around to visit his customers and dealers in his wide territory at the northern part of South Africa and neighbouring countries.  He is one of our most successful distributors in South Africa, and he has lifetime experience with Singer.

Together with Pat, we attended the new computerised 9900 machines seminar in Karlsruhe, Germany, and although he has seen hundreds of different sewing machine models in his experience, he was still learning all the details of the new machines, as if they were the first he had seen.  He introduced himself in Germany as "The Oldest Active Singerman on Earth", proof that his is an interesting story that needs to be shared.

The Beginning
Pat was born on August 21, 1927, on a farm named STERKSPRUIT in South Africa.  He left the farm at age eight to be educated in Pretoria, which is now the capital city of South Africa.  This was a difficult period since it was the middle of WWII, and general commodities such as sugar, butter, flour, tea and rice were being rationed in all stores.  Since Pat had lost his father when the war ended in 1945, he had to leave day school to support the family by taking up employment at a general grocery store - studying in the evenings and obtaining his standard 10 certificate and advancing to outdoor university.  During this time, he lost his other parent and was on his own as the Manager of a small, one-man general dealer.  At the tender age of 21, he realised that he could not progress any further in his career and would need to find more secure employment.

Pat responded to a job advertisement in the local newspaper, which was seeking young men for the position as A.M.S. in the sewing machine business.  The company was run under the name of "BOURNE & COMPANY" selling SINGER® Sewing Machines.  He was hired at Bourne & Co. as Assistant Managing Salesman with eight other colleagues operating from the Van der Walt Street SINGER® store.  Before being sent out to the field, they were trained on product knowledge, minor repairs and how to attend to service calls, which were our contracts to obtain sales.  Equipped with hire purchase contracts, a receipt book, SINGER® oil and needles, they were on their way to sell door to door.

Top Dealer and Top Salesman
Only three months later, Pat held the top sales position of 150 outdoor salesmen in South Africa.  Following the success, he was called into the District Manager's office to take over the various roles of the report clerk including managing the reporting system at shop level.  Eventually, he was promoted to relieve shop managers and report clerks in the Transvaal region.

When he proved to be successful in relieving shop managers and report clerks, Pat was transferred to the small town of Barberton to take over the managing of a sub-shop.  After two years, he opened a reporting shop in Nelspruit, managing it well and producing the sales figures required.  He was promoted to District Manager, managing eight shops in the Eastern and Northern Tvl.

In 1963 Pat's division won the best performing division in South Africa and surrounding countries on Sales and Asset.  In 1964, Pat moved to Johannesburg as he was promoted to Area Manager, taking control of four divisions in South Africa and also controlling South and Northern Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe and Zambia) and Malawi.  In 1967, he was promoted to National Sales Manager for South Africa and surrounding countries.

When South Africa decided to use dealers, he purchased the Nelspruit shop.  The population of Nelspruit at that stage was only 25,000 people, and it was clear to him that if he wanted to make a success of the business, he would have to develop the outside territory, especially Swaziland.  How?  By appointing new merchants, introducing industrial machines to groups of small businesses, selling needles and oil to every outlet possible, and following up every tender from neighbouring countries and North African countries.  It has been his aim to always be the top dealers in South Africa, which he has never failed to accomplish.  His biggest sales order came in 1988 when he got an order for over 5,000 machine units, including one existing order of 1,200 treadle machines.  The order had to be exported through the northern territory of Mozambique by trucks to Tanzania, escorted by the army for more than 3,000 miles.

Patrick Today
After 54 years of active experience, Pat continues to achieve his goals, without compromising his targets.  He knows that we still need to do a lot of work to increase the sales and market share in South Africa.  He has already focused his eyes to the set targets for this year, and he has started planning the necessary activities that will help him to meet them.

He always participates in regional product shows to promote the products in his territory.  He also advertises in the local papers and radio station to stimulate sales.  Today, he is also concentrating on the promotion and sales of the Industrial Sewing Machines in his territory plus the neighbouring countries, which has been quite encouraging in the last two years.

Currently, he is preparing himself and his team to promote the new 9900 Quantum® series in his territory.  We are expecting many more successful results, without doubt, from Pat and his team.


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