Sydney Markets 11th annual Greengrocer of the Year Awards has seen over 210 small businesses competing for top Regional and Metropolitan honours. The long running awards program acknowledges best practices and plays an important role in increasing the levels of retail excellence year after year.
Many independent greengrocers are second and third generation businesses who offer a unique, nonhomogenised fresh fruit and vegetable shopping experience; they take into account the cultural and culinary needs of the community and listen to what their customers need. Independent greengrocers also play a pivotal role for growers, they handle specialised lines, perishable or flavoursome varieties and promote them to their customers ensuring a quick sale from the paddock to the plate.
Retail champions are determined by multiple mystery shopper evaluations that measure businesses on store presentation, produce quality and freshness, range, customer service, visual merchandising, branding and marketing skills. In excess of 660 store visits were conducted throughout NSW and ACT, and covered stores from Port Macquarie to Tumut.
Brad Latham, Sydney Markets CEO said 'The calibre of the finalists is exceptional and the results from this program plainly indicate that greengrocers are working overtime to ensure they provide an enjoyable and personalised shopping experience for their valued customers. I would like to acknowledge not only this year’s finalists but all Greengrocers who participated in the 2012 program.'
'With Australian households tightening their shopping budgets and being more selective about how and where they spent their shopping dollars, greengrocers have focused on lifting quality, value and connecting with their community to ensure they keep customers contentedly walking through the doors.'
And the winners are....
2012 Regional Greengrocer of the Year Award
Winner: Country Fruit
165 George St, Bathurst
From the moment you walk through the glass sliding doors, Country Fruit Bathurst is appealing. The décor is tasteful; the presentation spotless; the aromas enticing; and the atmosphere welcoming.
This award winning store has now notched-up five consecutive Regional Greengrocer of the Year Awards, which is an outstanding achievement for owners Craig and Anna Sharah.
Country Fruit Bathurst carries a superb selection of quality fruits and vegetables, all of which are presented smartly. Most of the produce is sourced from the Sydney Markets but a percentage is sourced locally from orchards and farms in the region.
The colours of the produce are used effectively to add contrast, the wicker baskets create focal points and there is a pleasing sense of abundance and freshness. Plump red truss tomatoes are ripe for the picking and the mushrooms are snowy white. Purple tissue paper cups the grapes and is wrapped around the oranges, apples and pears in the stacks, adding a finishing touch. To maximise freshness, the broccoli, corn and asparagus are displayed on shaved ice. This business also carries a fabulous selection of salad greens and Asian vegetables all immaculately laid out in the refrigerated shelving.
At the back of the store under the boldly painted black lettering that spells out “GOURMET”, there is a creative three-tiered display of cheeses which includes platters of glace fruit and fresh dates and a food connoisseur’s range of groceries, produced locally and imported.
What started out as a wholesaling and providoring business has blossomed into a one stop shop that offers an exceptional shopping experience. Their attention to detail and consistently high retailing skills are what makes this country retailer a standout.
2012 Metropolitan Greengrocer of the Year Award
Winner: Norton St Grocer
51-57 Norton Street, Leichardt
Sydneysiders have long known that Norton Street, Leichhardt is a fabulous place to shop especially if you appreciate fine quality Italian food and the freshest seasonal produce. Fondly known as “Little Italy” this precinct is also home to Norton St Grocer, the 2012 Metropolitan Greengrocer of the Year.
Since opening in 2000, Norton St Grocer, Leichhardt has built an uncompromising reputation for offering an exceptional range of quality fresh fruit and vegetables, spotless presentation and friendly, attentive customer service. Owner George Angelidis is a second generation retailer who credits his late father, Con, with nurturing his passion for the industry and teaching him the essentials of good fresh produce retailing. With 27 years experience under his belt this humble greengrocer has not shied away from the hard slog; Norton Street opens 7 days a week. George still starts his days with a visit to Sydney Markets to undertake the buying for his store.
This business maybe steeped in tradition but it is also innovative, they are constantly evolving to ensure they provide a matchless experience and recently upgraded their website to cater to online shoppers. Whether you're a gourmet or simple cook, Norton St Grocer will inspire you with its exceptional produce quality and range, impressive well-stocked gourmet deli and countless continental groceries.
Highly Commended: Highlands Fresh, Mittagong and Figtree Grocer, Lane Cove West.
Farmers and growers, artisan producers, and wonderful providores.