The first OK Bazaars opens on the corner of Eloff and President Street in Johannesburg

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Saturday, 25 June 1927

On 25 June 1927, Michael Miller and Sam Cohen opened the first OK Bazaars on Eloff and President Streets in Johannesburg.

OK Bazaars went on to gain success as a general store throughout South Africa, and became a household name. In 1929, OK Bazaars was listed as a public company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and by 1967, OK Bazaars had opened 100 stores.

OK Bazaars also played a role in the labour history of South Africa, as the establishment of this franchise led to competition between stores in small towns throughout the country, for example, where Indian traders had set up general stores.

Despite this, OK Bazaars proved to be fairly progressive enterprise, as it was willing to negotiate with the Shopworkers' Union in the 1940s, and OK Bazaars employees were seen to be relatively well paid.

In 1997, OK Bazaars was bought out by Shoprite Checkers. However, the OK franchise still exists today as a furniture chain store.

References:
• Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
•  OK Furniture History of OK [online] Available at: okfurniture.co.za [Accessed 17 June 2009]
• SAHO Evaton Bus Boycotts [online] Available at: sahistory.org.za [Accessed 17 June 2009]

Last updated : 23-Jun-2015

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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