Joseph Pace embraced the Convenience Shop concept from the outset. In 2009, along with fellow director Ivan Calleja, he founded the Group which has now taken Malta by storm.
With just five employees, they opened their first outlet in Zebbug – with Joe taking responsibility for all administrative matters, from HR to budgets and projections, effectively building the backup infrastructure from scratch.
Both he and Ivan realised early on there was a new niche in the food retail market. With the proliferation of larger supermarkets, the village grocer was becoming a dying breed. And, with this in mind, they rethought the concept and brought it up to date along with the realisation that whatever they came up with needed to fit around customers’ increasingly busy lives.
As they started to open two to three shops in each town, small investors were keen to be part of their success. So, Joe and Ivan developed a financial structure that could sustain a mix of owned and franchise outlets.
They have not looked back, growing the chain at a rapid rate to become Malta’s leading convenience shop group in less than a decade – now responsible for 72 stores across the island.
However, for the founders, the venture was more than just about profit. They both harboured a strong desire to contribute to society and provide financial and other support to a number of NGOs.
Moreover, they achieved their dream to open a store that hands over its profits to Puttinu Cares, an organisation that helps cancer patients which is close to both their hearts. The store, located in Qormi, was set up in 2019, when the Group celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
Joe, known for his larger-than-life character, is also active away from work. He has been president of Zebbug Rangers FC for almost two decades and enjoys spending time travelling and being with his family.