A passion for people

A passion for people

Intentional, driven and fuelled by a desire to help others become the absolute best version of themselves, Ballito Lifestyle Centre Kauai owner and father of four, Don Hill, is a hardworking businessman and a family man to the core.

As the owner of nine other Kauai franchises in KZN as well, Don’s approach to work is not unlike his approach to his family, and perhaps therein lies his ultimate success.

“I’m open and honest and I always want those around me to feel safe enough to make mistakes and not be afraid of conflict, as long as it is constructive, and we learn from it. I also encourage people not to take themselves too seriously, which can easily happen when striving to make it in business.”

Raised on a farm in Zululand, Don did a BCom at the University of Pietermaritzburg after boarding school. He worked in accounts before spending a couple of years overseas. Returning to South Africa in his mid-twenties, Don joined Spar in Eshowe and spent the next five years as a financial manager for a group of stores.

After a few other business ventures, including owning a small contracting packing company for more than 10 years, Don bought shares in his first Kauai store in Kings Park in 2003. Over the next few years, he continued to acquire stores and is now the owner of ten branches in the province.

The Ballito Lifestyle Centre branch, which opened in 2011, recently relocated to a bigger store in the centre and underwent a significant upgrade.
As grateful as he is of his business successes though, Don is unwavering in his conviction that his family is undeniably the greatest wealth of his life.

Married to well-known North Coast obstetrician and gynaecologist, Candice Roberts, Don proposed after a three-month whirlwind romance and the couple were married a few months later. “I have always been very intentional about my life, and believe you live out your expectations. Meeting Candice was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I am incredibly lucky to be married to her,” he says with a smile.

With four children between the ages of 9 and 15 years old, Don’s family life is chaotic and busy, but always authentic and real. “I am glad we started our family slightly later in life because I am a much better father now than what I would have been 10 years ago. As a slightly more mature dad, I have more freedom, better insight and I am more self-aware. I know that there is no greater wealth in my life than my family and, while I may have been dreaming of flying around in corporate jets in my thirties, I now know that the life I am living is the ultimate dream … lying in bed with my kids at night, supporting them on the sports field and spending quality time with my wife. No business meeting can pull me away from that.”

Don is a firm believer in taking responsibility for your life and your mistakes and he emphasises this philosophy with both his children and his employees. “There is zero shame in making mistakes as long as we learn from them. We are the master of our own destiny, and we should look in the mirror first when something goes wrong.”

With a passion for both people and numbers, Don loves what he does and spends a significant amount of time creating positive cultures and mindsets within his businesses. “How we think (of ourselves) determines how we act, and I believe that if your staff are fulfilled, challenged and have ‘full tanks,’ this will result in customers having their best experience.”

Don instils a set of values in his stores that he has cultivated after many years of experience and research. “Our values are safety (because you can’t shine and be your authentic self if you don’t feel safe enough to do so), family (we all need a strong sense of belonging), transparency (be open and honest, always), self-responsibility (look in the mirror for the solution first), growth (people are happier when they are growing) and fun (because what’s the point otherwise?).”

As pioneers in the healthy – but still tasty – food market in South Africa, Don is proud to be a part of the Kauai brand. “Our food is as good as any that you will find in any major city around the world, only it’s healthier and probably tastier too!”