Celebrating 20 Years

The Midlands MagazineJanuary 6, 2023

We look at Piggly Wiggly’s humble beginnings and how the Kassier family continues to build a legacy, a lifestyle, and a thriving community.


From selling homegrown veggies under an unassuming roadside structure to becoming a multi-faceted family-run business, Piggly Wiggly has evolved over the past 20 years and credits its success to the surrounding community that has always supported them over the years.

From humble beginnings based on a simple dream

It all started with a dream that parents Rudi and Cindy Kassier had, to offer their family a simple farm life surrounded by a supportive community. So, when they moved to Highgate Farm, it was with this in mind. At the time, the property was a hydroponic vegetable farm that provided nearby businesses with fresh vegetables. On the day that the family took the transfer of the property, a hailstorm destroyed all the vegetables and was followed by three more subsequent hailstorms in the next few years. Starting out on the back foot meant that Rudi had to think outside the box to find a way to support his family. Being located on the busy R103 meant that Highgate Farm was perfectly situated to provide the surrounding community with vegetables, and so, Rudi started to sell small batches of veggies off hay bales on the roadside to generate an income. This is where the idea of a local farm stall was born.


The spirit of the community demonstrated

The Kassiers never imagined what this little roadside venture would amount to. For Rudi and Cindy, building a business has always been about so much more than simply a means to an end. They have always wanted to show their children what can be achieved with true passion, help from those around you, and good old-fashioned hard work.

As word spread of fresh produce being made readily available, people flocked to the little farm stall under the tree to support this local venture. Cindy baked her famous brown bread (which is still served at Piggly Wiggly) and neighbour Gilly, from Wana Farm, sold her cream cheese and yoghurt. Soon becoming quite the social point, the regular veggie customers also began requesting coffee, snacks, and sandwiches, and so, Piggly Wiggly was born.


The community within Piggly

As the coffee shop grew and got busier, other local artisans also approached Rudi to have their own spaces to sell their wares along the busy R103 route. This set in motion the concept of the country shopping village. Tracey Atkinson, from That Little French Shop (originally Tous Les Jours), was the first person to open her shop and she still has a prime spot right next door to the coffee shop today.


There are now a wide variety of different local and family-run businesses within the Piggly Wiggly Lifestyle Centre and the business owners and shopkeepers have all become part of the greater Piggly family. This community within the country village is a beautiful thing to witness. If you happen to wander through the centre, on a quieter day, you will often catch the different shopkeepers chatting over their morning coffee.


Our home is your home and your joy is ours too

Rudi and Cindy have worked tirelessly day in and day out to create a meeting place where everyone feels welcome – a place to eat a wholesome meal, create memories with your nearest and dearest, and enjoy a taste of the  lifestyle.


For the Kassiers, building a family business from the ground up with values such as trust, growth, and loyalty, was and still is a priority. The majority of the staff employed at the establishment have been with the family from the beginning, from picking vegetables to managing the eateries; Rudi has supported the aspirations and growth of his staff onto many a greater venture. Some have become lawyers or teachers with others going on to run their own local businesses or even branching out into the medical field. Every joy for the greater Piggly family, whether it be within the establishment or not, is a joy for the Kassier family too.


Combining passion and hard work to create a lifestyle

Rudi has always been a romantic at heart, with a love for wine and the process of growing a crop by hand. Coincidentally, Cedara College was doing trials on growing grapes in KwaZulu-Natal, and Rudi was approached by them to get involved. What started off as a passion project, has now blossomed into one of only three established wine estates in the province – Highgate Wine Estate. The Kassier family values the authentic process behind creating a bottle of wine, and so, they keep to the tradition of bottling and labelling by hand, as well as using corks. Highgate has five hectares of vines, with a variety of Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. The farm also produced the first certified KZN Chardonnay in 2010. If you have a look to the left of the coffee shop, you can still find the original trial block of vines that was planted in 2004.




Family is everything

As the business grew and Cindy focused on raising their three children, Rudi struggled to manage everything on his own. This is when Rudi’s cousin, Ruben, came on board and took on various portfolios within the family business. This is something Rudi has always been grateful for, as he felt like he had a partner to help him along the way. The fact that it was his closest cousin made it all the more rewarding and fun. Ouma Grethe (Cindy’s mom) also contributed to the success of the coffee shop, playing hostess and always entertaining the locals with her dancing and stories. She still knows everyone by name and you can order her famous scones off the Piggly menu.


A father’s dream realised

With the core of Piggly Wiggly being to provide a legacy for his children and grandchildren, Rudi’s dream has never changed. Rudi and Cindy have had the joy of raising three wonderful children at Highgate Farm. Twins, Matthew, and Nicholas, and a beautiful daughter, Cathryn.


Matthew went on to study Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch and later completed his Master’s at the University of Zurich. He is currently living in Zurich, working as a psychiatrist, and is happily married to a Swiss woman, Natalie Allenbach.


Nicholas studied BComm Investment Management at the University of Stellenbosch and after completing his first degree, he studied Law at the University of Cape Town. He went on to practise as an attorney in Umhlanga before moving back to the farm in 2020 to join the family business. He married his high school sweetheart, Siobhan, who has also recently joined the family business and they have two beautiful children together, Clarke and Asher.


Cathryn went on to study BA in Social Dynamics at the University of Stellenbosch, majoring in Politics and Environmental Studies. After she completed her first degree, she then did a PGCE. To complement the family’s interest in wine, she worked at Ernie Els wines where she met and fell in love with her husband, Tom Herselman. In 2018, they moved back to the farm together and both joined the family business.


Being able to work alongside their children daily and watch their grandchildren grow up is a dream come true for Rudi and Cindy.



20 years later

With the continued support of the community, Piggly Wiggly has grown over the past 20 years and the Kassier family would love to have you and your loved ones come to visit – whether you come from near or far, everyone is welcome.

Photos: Christy & Co