The owners of Grasslands, Dr Cornel Cronjè and Marlene Greyling, decided to try something new. Instead of using the usual primary colours for decor, they chose colours and textures found in nature: white, stone, charcoal and green in order to create a fresh and natural feeling.
YN: How did your business start?
Dr Cornel: I was chatting to my friend Marlene and we realised that there was a need for a more sophisticated nursery school in this area, which would create a more aesthetic and natural environment for children. We don’t want children to feel trapped in the hustle and bustle of city life, because we believe that babies and toddlers develop through the stimulation of their senses and that mental and academic development are increased when it is combined with adventure and discovery. Marlene is an experienced nursery school teacher and principal. Her dream has always been to start her own school. I am more business oriented and thought that it would be a great challenge to establish such a unique school.
YN: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Dr Cornel: We chose this area because of the amount of good primary and high schools nearby. This would make it easier for parents if they want to drop off all their children in more or less the same area.
YN: How did you find your premises?
Dr Cornel: We drove past the old house and saw that it was for sale. We immediately knew that this was the ideal premises because of the location and the friendly atmosphere.
YN: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Dr Cornel: The school is centrally located between the University of Pretoria, Unisa, several schools (Waterkloof House Preparatory School, Crawford schools, Laerskool Anton van Wouw, Laerskool Pretoria-Oos, Afrikaans Hoër schools, Pretoria Boys High School), a great variety of office buildings, as well as Brooklyn Mall.
YN: Who are your neighbours?
Dr Cornel: The Belgian Embassy, WHPS and three residential properties.
YN: What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Dr Cornel: Slightly above average.
YN: What is your shop footprint?
Dr Cornel: At this stage we accommodate 27 children at Grasslands.
YN: Do you have any expansion plans?
Dr Cornel: We want to keep our classes small; we don’t want more than 15 children in one class. But we can possibly expand, as the size of the school and the playground will allow it.
YN: Do you operate online as well?
Dr Cornel: We have a website: grasslandssa.co.za. Parents can also enrol their children on the website, should this be easier for them.
Join Grasslands for their open day/picnic on 5 March (next Saturday) from 9am to 12pm.
Marlene Greyling, 083 270 1443
Cornel Cronje, 076 190 9695
Words: Zena le Roux