There’s a secret many owners of fruit and vegetable stores don’t share with you.
It’s nothing shameful, but if you found out… you’d be shocked.
Perhaps you’ll think differently the next time you visit or drive pass one.
Before Alfred Store began, the mission was to create more time for Australians so they could focus on the more important things in life.
You won’t believe the number of hours people spend at the supermarket per year! I’ll save that for another day.
But something caught our attention when we went door-knocking greengrocers and introducing the concept of Alfred Store.
I’m not sure how to put it, but we realised the people who also really need our help are the grocers.
You’re probably thinking how hard can it be to run a fruit and veg shop?
Don’t they just stack the stuff and that’s it?
Just imagine a chilly, rainy night
Your cocooned in warm sheets with only your face popping out.
You’d assume by mid night time the whole town is tucked away asleep, right?
Not these guys.
1 AM in the morning, these owners fire up their trucks and make their way to Epping Wholesale Market - FYI it is not open to the public.
Similar to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo or Rue Mouffetard in Paris. You can find anything!
It is a complete stadium of fresh fruit and veg from local Australian farms to artisan suppliers from across the globe.
Your local greengrocer drives 1-2 hrs to reach here and begins the chaotic journey to source produce.
Thousands stand side by side bargaining and trading. Fork-lifting goods to their trucks - dodging pedestrians and other fork lifts.
3-4 AM, time is ticking and the rush is on to have the truck completely loaded by .
They must begin the drive back to avoid the morning traffic. In the summer, the heat will ruin the produce so it’s even more rush rush.
By now you’re probably in the middle of your dreams fighting off dragons or riding horses by the beach.
Once they reach their shop, the staff pull up with fork lifts. Unloading the goods into gigantic walk-in cool rooms.
They begin hand stacking fruit and vegetables 1 by 1 neatly like pyramids.
Trimming ends of vegetables to enhance the beauty of nature.
8 AM the store must be fully stocked, ready for early bird customers.
Guess how many years some of these owners have been doing this?
5 years, 10 years, 20 years some even 50 years…
Frootz on Parade have been in business for 100 years!
Yet these friendly grocers never mention their chaotic mornings.
Their efforts go unnoticed.
Besides this they’re facing new problems.
Supermarket giants have huge buying power. They’re able to bulk purchase one particular product which is seasonal and popular to consumers.
Independent grocers will not have the opportunity to stock this item, meaning sometimes regular customers will end up heading to major supermarket chains.
Delivery is another problem.
Hiring a full time driver is a headache, let alone organising the logistics. So many have stopped delivering.
What we can do is support our local stores as much as possible.
Whether you shop in store or have produce delivered via Alfred Store, let them know how amazing their products are.
A little acknowledgement goes a long long way!
The thing that keeps them going is passion and your smile.
PS - click here to view an interesting article by Mark Bouris, founder of Wizard Home Loans.