This year is the 11th Greengrocer of the Year Awards and I'm delighted that Tom's SuperFruits at the Belconnen Markets in Canberra, is one of the finalists. I asked Sue Dodd, my friend and long time colleague from Sydney Markets Limited, to explain the awards:
'Imagine a community without a greengrocer, we'll pay more and certainly get less variety and varieties. The Awards aim to highlight the fantastic job that independent greengrocers do in the community and recognise them for their efforts.
Throughout the year (this year there are 210) greengrocers in NSW and ACT from Tamworth to Tumut participated in the program. Each was visited regularly by professional mystery shoppers, who critique each store from a customer’s perspective judging over 40 different criteria covering:
Firstly let me say we are so lucky to have such professional and passionate greengrocers. Retailing is a tough gig, the hours are long, the work labour intensive and you are dealing with perishable products that need to be transported and sold quickly. If you are not good than you don’t last long in this business. Many greengrocers are third and second generation retailers, who have passed on the skills and passion for their liveihood. Most greengrocers are hard at work tasting, negitating and procuring the seasons best fruit and veg while the city sleeps.'
I also asked Sue, what makes a good greengrocer?
'Quality fresh produce and exceptional service will always be a key offering of modern Greengrocers. Walk into any store from our list of Finalists and you’ll see how good service generates good business! By listening to their customers on a daily basis, greengrocers understand that in order to thrive they must satisfy both the culinary and cultural needs of their local community. That’s why so many greengrocers become one-stop-shops; a place where shoppers can buy the best in-season fruit and veggies plus a whole lot more.
Good attention to detail, strong customer focused, sound product knowledge, they offer different shopping experience, their store has character, they offer personalised service, the extras, such as in store tastings, car delivery service, good people skills, staff are well groomed and look smart – uniforms, name tags, their innovative and promote their buisness. Need something different – if its in season a top greengrocer will find it for you.You just have to ask.
The businesses that receive the Greengrocer of the Year Award (there is a Metro and Regional Award) firstly have to make the preliminary finalists list, then they receive a fourth and final visit from the mystery shoppers. The stores that achieve the highest scores across the criteria and are consistently top notch take out the title. Every business is a little bit different – and that a good thing – we love their unique positioning. It's the character of the greengrocer that is so enticing.'
Metropolitan finalists are:
Regional finalists are:
Winners will be announced on 1 December. For more information about the Greengrocer of the Year Awards, visit the Sydney Markets Limited website.
Farmers and growers, artisan producers, and wonderful providores.