As one strolls through various neighborhoods in Nairobi, the distinctive presence of Muthokinju Paints and Cement Hardware may catch the eye. This enterprise, founded by Susan Muthoni Kimani and Barnabas Njuguna, stands as a testament to their entrepreneurial journey.
Originating as a modest hardware and paint store in Kasarani, Nairobi, Muthokinju has evolved into a nationwide phenomenon with branches strategically located in Juja, Ngong, Rongai, Karatina, Kenol, Kasarani, Embu, Thika, Murang’a, Kitengela, and Kiambu Road.
The inception of Muthokinju dates back to 1995 when Susan and Barnabas transitioned from the restaurant industry, having previously operated Mama Safi at Kenyatta Market. Encountering the challenges inherent in dealing with perishable goods and the associated waste, the duo sought a more sustainable venture. Thus, the amalgamation of their names, Muthoni and Njuguna, along with their son’s name, Kimani, gave birth to Muthokinju.
Unbeknownst to them, this decision would not only shape the destiny of their family but also leave an enduring impact on the construction industry. As the business gained momentum, expansion plans began to take concrete form.
In 2004, Muthokinju took a significant stride by incorporating as a Limited Company, providing legal protection to shareholders and setting the stage for future growth. Seven years post-incorporation, Benjamin Kimani, the founders’ sole heir, assumed control of the family business at the age of 24. Charged with steering Muthokinju towards continued success through expansion and market penetration, Kimani embraced the challenge with determination and foresight.
In an interview with Business Daily, Kimani acknowledged the privilege of inheriting a business with an impeccable reputation, crediting his parents for building goodwill. Despite contemplating a potential overhaul of the business model, including a name change, Kimani ultimately preserved the established presence and legacy of his parents.
Under Benjamin Kimani’s stewardship, Muthokinju has thrived, extending its reach with branches in various locations. Kimani’s adaptability and agility in navigating the intricate and volatile business landscape have played a pivotal role in the sustained success of the company.
“I’m very agile. We’re living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) business world that requires us to have strong values. If you threw me anywhere, I’d find a way to adapt,” affirmed Kimani, encapsulating the ethos that propels Muthokinju forward.