One of my favourite stores is the Campbell Friendly Grocer in the elegant suburb of Campbell in Canberra's old inner north. According to Canberra online, the location 'was originally known as Duntroon and was gazetted as Campbell in 1956. Robert Campbell, Sydney's first merchant, is said to have received a grant of land on the Limestone Plains as compensation for the loss of one of his ships on government charter. In 1825 he built a homestead, naming it Duntroon after the Campbell castle in Argyllshire, Scotland. Other buildings erected by Campbell and his family are the Church of St John the Baptist in 1845 and Blundell's farmhouse (now a pioneer museum)'. The Australian War Memorial, ANZAC Parade, Lake Burley Griffin and the National Carillon are just nearby.
Given its close proximity to the City, Peter and I frequented the Campbell shopping centre after work and were regulars when we lived in the suburb.
We enjoyed the neighbourhood atmosphere and the good range of shops, which includes an excellent liquor store and supermarket, as well as The Lanterne Rooms restaurant and Leong Kitchen Chinese restaurant. All offer genuinely friendly service and quality products.
Campbell Friendly Grocer is owned by Albury born Matthew Farrah, who originally opened the bottle shop two doors down in 1992. Three years later, his brother, Chris, came on board and the two joined a trust which bought the entire shopping centre. This explains the well maintained look and 'village' feel of the complex. Matt now owns the supermarket or 'Friendly Grocer' and Chris owns Campbell Liquor Discounts. Interestingly, Matt also owns four vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand, and a wine production business that makes brands such as Pear Tree, Little Black Stone, Beachwood, Waihopai and Mr Smith, an Australian wine which won a Gold medal at the London International Wine Challenge. Matt distributes his wines through his own wine distribution business, Rogue Wines. More on this interesting facet in a later piece.
Back to the Campbell Friendly Grocer, Matt and his store managers are customer savvy and keen to cater to the needs of their clientele. 'We are mainly a convenience store, but our shoppers really enjoy gourmet products, which is why we stock a good range of quality lines', Matt explained.
Indeed. On these shelves, you will find Poacher's Pantry smoked meats, Toby's Estate coffee, Charmaine Solomon curry pastes, desserts from Homemade Fine Foods, and Careme handmade pastries. There is also a focus on local products, such as Contadino Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Falls Creek, Dom's Woodfired Bread from Queanbeyan, and meat from Country Pride Sausages, among other good things. The latest products to grace the shelves are Pepe Saya butter and Red Belly Citrus Blood Orange Cordial. Matt has a vision to expand the gourmet lines even further in the next couple of years.
To cater to local office workers, Matt's Farrahdisio cafe, operates from the grocery between 8.00am and 3.00pm on weekdays. Here you will find gourmet sandwiches and quiche, as well as Mick's Bakehouse pies, roasted chickens and fresh sushi. Campbell Friendly Grocer is open seven days from 8.00am to 8.00pm, telephone 02 6247 3535. Make it a regular stop in for your grocery shopping, the concept and the store is delicious. You are going to love it!
Farmers and growers, artisan producers, and wonderful providores.