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Gate closes on local produce

A LOCAL fresh produce business has finished indefinitely in the face of challenging barriers to entering a market dominated by major supermarket chains.
FarmGate Online, a local food distribution company which operated from distribution points along the Bass Coast and South Gippsland, ceased operating recently.
Leaving no debtors in its wake, FarmGate Online owners Aladair Moodie and Karen Vincent said they went into the fresh produce industry committed to locally sourced, fair priced produce.
“The economics were still tight to be playing a sort of equal game with the major supermarkets that bring stuff in from offshore,” Mr Moodie said.
“We are closing out of this operation knowing we will pay everybody we committed to. So ethically that sits well with me.
“It’s certainly not satisfying to walk away but there is a point where you have to say, ‘If I keep doing this I’m going to drain my bank account’ and we just had to make that call.”
The end of local coolstores over the years limited options for growers who are limited to selling commercial quantities to supermarket giants who have distribution of scale, and delivery networks well-established and well financed.
Although a small scale operation, FarmGate Online operated on a delivery model whereby people purchased their food from the company website and it was delivered to a ‘farm gate’ – a collection point.
This allowed regional and rural customers to purchase Australian grown produce and a percentage of the purchase was donated to the not for profit ‘farm gates’.
This business closure follows a worrying trend in the industry with the sudden closure of Aussie Farmers Direct earlier this year which left franchisees and other debtors severely out of pocket.
Ms Vincent said she had been resistant to closing indefinitely because she could not bear to see that the business could not work.
“I really enjoyed putting the boxes together and communicating with customers. I love going to market – it’s a fascinating place to go,” she said.
“Unfortunately there are so many hurdles especially now with the wholesale market (in Epping) being so far away it proved too challenging,” she said.
Mr Moodie said since their move into South Gippsland, the couple would continue to network and seek partnerships in the fresh produce industry.

Business closure: FarmGate Online owners Alasdair Moodie and Karen Vincent have reluctantly closed their business indefinitely.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25717

Posted by on Aug 21 2018. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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