Supermarket returns


Supermarket returns

New supermarket: Foster and Mirboo North IGA owners Chris Bettles and Trudy McLauchlan hope to open in Meeniyan next year.

By Chris Brown

MEENIYAN should have a new supermarket by Christmas next year if all goes to plan.
The owners of IGA stores in Foster and Mirboo North have teamed up with a developer to build and open a new supermarket.
About 20 staff, many of them part time, will be employed.
The 440 square metre store, which is the same size as the Foster IGA, will have a service deli with hot chickens, doughnut machine, meat, fruit and vegetables, liquor and up to 8000 grocery lines.
There will be a car park with at least 25 spaces out the back.
The building, fittings and refrigeration cabinets will cost about $1.5 million.
It will be on the same site on Whitelaw Street as the Friendly Grocer supermarket that burnt down on March 7 this year.
Chris Bettles and Trudy McLauchlan have owned Foster IGA for three years and Mirboo North IGA for one.
A member of the Meeniyan Progress Association approached the couple about opening a supermarket in town and they found out the previous owner of the store wasn’t interested in rebuilding.
IGA were prepared to support it, so the pair contacted Melbourne-based developer Ken Scott.
He has worked on many IGA stores and recently finished one in Blackburn.
Mr Bettles said they looked at the demographics for the area and the passing traffic.
Owning three IGA stores will give them a bigger buying power that should mean cheaper prices in the supermarket aisles for customers.
Before moving to South Gippsland, Mr Bettles worked for Coles supermarkets as an insights manager where he looked at customer shopping preferences.
He said people want good value and trolleys that work.
Research shows that people travel for good value, he said.
“If you don’t give good value to your local customers they’ll go elsewhere,” Mr Bettles said.
“There will be a strong focus on fruit and veggies bought from the markets as cheap as we can and selling it as cheap as we can.”
One notable aspect of the Foster and Mirboo North IGAs are the crates of fruit and vegetables out the front.
Mr Bettles said this concept began when they were offered a bin of apples, which sold in a day.
“If we buy a bin of apples we have to sell the whole bin, so it’s no good putting a high price on it then you end up selling rotten apples by the time they finish and that’s not good value at all,” he said.
At Foster they tried selling pineapples from bins and it was deemed a success because they sold in two days.
“We’ve found if you get the price right on the pineapple, people will buy it and are prepared to cut it up,” Mr Bettles said.
“Now both stores will have a bin of pineapples out the front at $1.99.
“It’s become a bit of a signature and we’ll guarantee the people of Meeniyan will have a pineapple bin out the front.”
Mr Bettles said the shire had been fantastic, but there could be an issue gaining access to the track at the back of Meeniyan.
He said there should be enough available grocery business in Meeniyan that if they can secure a large proportion of it the store will be viable.
“If you add the passing trade and the tourist trade it should become a viable proposition,” he said.
“You’ll be able to stop here and load up for things for the Prom.”
It would make the supermarket the “stocking up point” in the turning point town.
As it will be open from 7am until 9pm it will also cater for people driving through the town looking for a cold drink or some snack food.
Mr Bettles said Meeniyan has to grow.
“It’s less than two hours from Melbourne. The tourism here is amazing….This town has lots of potential to grow and there are lots of areas to grow,” Mr Bettles said.

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Posted by Chris Brown on Nov 4 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. 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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