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No Looking Back for Vuli Savou, She Owns Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City

The birth of this mother-daughter project began in 2016. Ms Savou recalled that she was not financially ready for the move. But five years later and thanks to COVID-19, the 2016 conversation came up again.
10 Oct 2021 14:25
No Looking Back for Vuli Savou, She Owns Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City
From left: Vuli Savou after serving her loyal customers, Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya with her friends Mere Nanuku and Selita Koroi at the Gloria Jeans, Damodar outlet on October 6, 2021 . Photo: Selita Rabuku

The new owner of Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City, outlet in Laucala Bay, Suva is an inspiration.

Vuli Savou is a familiar face in the legal fraternity. She runs her own law firm. But of late, this Totoya native has been spending most of her time serving customers and whipping up their favourite brew.

The birth of this mother-daughter project began in 2016.

Ms Savou recalled that she was not financially ready for the move. But five years later and thanks to COVID-19, the 2016 conversation came up again.

This time, there was no looking back.

Ms Savou said when the master franchisor approached her again to ask if she was still interested in buying the outlet, she grabbed the opportunity.

Her faith spurred her on.

“Lucky enough, I had savings, so I was able to afford this.”

Ms Savou said during the official handover, Fiji had achieved the 60 per cent fully vaccinated benchmark so it was a “calculated risk’.

On October 1, Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City, re-opened its doors.

Only this time, Ms Savou is in charge.

Foot traffic has doubled from the first day they opened. Eat-in, which was approved by the Government a few days ago, was a contributing factor. It was all a calculated risk.

“It’s quite an investment for me.

“I have only one shot and I have to make it work.”

She acknowledged the support from her family, friends and especially the Adi Cakobau School Old Girls.

In terms of the development of her business skills and acumen, Ms Savou pointed to her late Aunt, Torika Keteca Colati (mother’s elder sister).

“I was brought up by my Nana Levu in Lautoka, she was a market vendor.

“I learnt all my buying and selling skills from her. She had a stall at the Lautoka market and across the road was my kindergarten.

“After my classes, I would help sell her produce and artifacts.”

Ms Savou also acknowledged the support and sacrifice of her late parents, Salesi and Mereani Savou.

“This achievement is dedicated to them too.”

New Products and job opportunities:

Apart from the Gloria Jean’s pastries and coffee tradition, Ms Savou has added two new menus to the list – seafood platter and pasta linguine.

The re-opening of Gloria Jean’s has meant employment for eight full-time positions and two part-timers – including Ms Savou’s daughter.

The part-time workers would work on the weekends to assist in serving customers and cleaning.

From left: Vuli Savou with her staff members Daniel Kubuilai, Ita Lau and Isabella Sosefo at the Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City outlet on October 6, 2021. Photo: Selita Rabuku.

From left: Vuli Savou with her staff members Daniel Kubuilai, Ita Lau and Isabella Sosefo at the Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City outlet on October 6,
2021. Photo: Selita Rabuku.

Opening Hours

Gloria Jean’s Damodar is open at 6.30am from Mondays to Saturday and 7.30am on Sundays to around 7pm.

Gloria Jean’s Damodar is a sole proprietorship where Ms Savou is the main financer.

“It’s a project for me and my daughter,” she said.

“She’s been helping me and if you look at our logo, it is a cup of tea, a woman with a big afro and a child with a small afro.

Branding

A partnership agreement with the master franchisor includes maintaining the brand, colour and taste of coffee.

“They monitor to make sure that I maintain the brand and it has to be consistent.”

Advice to budding entrepreneurs:

“Sky is the limit, don’t give up, stay in school for as long as your mental ability takes you, that would give you the skills to achieve your goals because if there’s anything it’s your mental ability.

“You don’t have to be smart, but you have to be hardworking.”

To the single moms out there, “never give up, the sun always rises in the morning, there’s always brighter days ahead. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, so there’s always hope.”

Comments:

A long-time friend and classmate, Atelaite Cama said she was proud of Ms Savou’s achievements.

“She always had a thing for opening an outlet like this. She’s a very good cook and that was where the interest began.

“We are very proud of her as a woman, a single mom and to acquire something like this at such a perfect location where everyone gets on and gets off.

“Most of us lost our jobs during this pandemic and for someone to do something like this is an extraordinary achievement.”

Fiji Day Celebration:

Gloria Jean’s, Damodar City will host a Fiji Day blue wiggers live concert today from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

It will feature Freddie Cardo and Stephanie Mafili.

Blue Wiggers is a group of Fiji 7s fans based all over the world. They have members from Australia, New Zealand , USA and the UK.

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