Independent food retailers find new markets alongside majors

Independent food retailers find new markets alongside majors


After succumbing to the aggressive expansion plans and retailing dominance of the corporate retail giants over the last decade, independent food retailers – butchers, bakers, fresh produce operators and others – are now re-staking their claim to market share and their best weapon is something they’ve always had… exceptional customer knowledge and service, and quality products.

One such successful retailer is independent South-East Queensland greengrocer, Harvest Markets, who is planning to open a new store ‘just down the road’ from its existing premises to take advantage of the rapidly expanding population of Yamanto.

Harvest Markets opened its first store in 1981 but sees a huge opportunity to be a part of Yamanto Central which will be the first stage of development for the 22.5ha Yamanto Town Centre which will create a new focal point for the fast growing corridor west of Brisbane.

Harvest Markets owner Rob Sayle said his business has continued to thrive in a dynamic retail environment.

He attributes a large amount of the business’ success to taking advantage of population trends and growth and working with the environment characterised by the big grocery chains, not against it.

“We see the big supermarkets as an opportunity not a threat. The power that these retailers have to pull huge customer numbers is what we can build on.

“Sure, the big supermarkets can be open longer hours and that’s convenient, but we can beat them on product quality and range, personalised service and even price.

“Of course, it means we need to work hard to stay up to date with consumer demands and trends, but that’s what good business is about and it energises us,” Mr Sayle said.

While large supermarkets cater to the ‘convenience shopper’, independent fresh food retailers cater to the growing number of ‘mindful consumers’ who want to know more about what’s in their food and where it comes from.

“We select our produce every morning from the Rocklea markets, know exactly which farm it comes from and can have a chat to the customer about it,” Mr Sayle said.

Mr Sayle said consumer product preference was one thing but finding the right location with certain population growth was critical.

“Our existing store is in Ipswich – one of the fastest growing cities in Queensland – and we’re now planning to open a second store at Yamanto Central shopping centre which sits in the fast growing new residential area.

“The population growth in Ipswich has reached a point where we can now have two stores in a similar area, but not affect trade for existing business.

“When the opportunity came up to open a store at Yamanto Central, it ticked the boxes for us – it’s a new, modern centre, has a Coles and a Kmart in the complex and the location is right between the RAAF base at Amberley and the growing Ripley Valley housing estate.”

Yamanto Central development team DMA Partners said like Mr Sayle, other clever local retailers were seeing the expansion opportunities which Yamanto Central presents.

DMA Partners Managing Director Ryan Andersen said, “Despite the difficult retail market in some Australian regions, the Ipswich area is seeing significant growth and population growth drives retail expenditure.

“With the main trade area for Yamanto Central forecast to grow at a rate of 5.5% between 2020-2031– that’s around three times the national average – there’s significant population demand to be met.

“Couple that with an existing population base of more than 22,000 in the primary trade area and no other internal mall shopping centres, the retail mix Yamanto will provide as well as ultra-convenient access and parking – Yamanto Central is set to become one of the most significant retail centres west of Brisbane.

“It’s about meeting the diverse retail preferences of this future market, who will benefit from a forecast trade area population in excess of 90,000 by 2031 – almost double the population on trade commencement.

“Yamanto Central, part of the much larger Yamanto Town Centre project, will establish a new shopping and social hub for this area and we’re seeing local and national tenants moving quickly to get involved.” Mr Andersen said.

brandterritoryIndependent food retailers find new markets alongside majors