Businesses appreciate support
ON Friday mornings, Percy's Fruit Market on Wood St is a hive of activity.
Open to the public just one day a week, the father-son team of Percy and Michael Puglisi are kept on their toes serving customers and replenishing empty shelves.
Having done this for 10 years, Percy said it was the quality, local produce that kept customers coming back.
“At the moment there's not a lot coming out of Stanthorpe but we're still getting things from there and from Gatton,” he said.
“We've been in the game for a long time and know a lot of the growers.”
While the retail outlet services Warwick locals each Friday, the wholesale trade is strongest for the business.
The Puglisis sell produce to such places as the Warwick hospital and clubs and pubs.
“Being small is good – it gives us the flexibility with choosing our stock,” he said.
“While probably the big chains can't be choosy because they buy by the semi-truck load, we can pick and sample what we buy.
“We're also competitive in pricing. For instance we're selling local potatoes for $1 a kilogram while I think supermarkets this week are $2-$3.”
The biggest reason for the popularity of the store is the freshness of the produce.
“That's the reason our Fridays are so popular – because everything is fresh,” he said.
“We try and turn over everything in one day, so everything looks fresh and vibrant. What we put out sells.”
Asked why many people still shopped at larger, sometimes more expensive, food places, Mr Puglisi attributed this to habit.
“Over the years people have talked themselves into being time poor and they can't be bothered going to a fruit shop or butcher,” he said.
“But a lot of time they're the ones missing out because the only difference between us and the supermarket is price.”
Another local business, Pure Heaven, makes a large portion of product locally.
With their base in Stanthorpe, owners Justin and Maria Heaven have had a Warwick outlet for seven months and said there had been strong support from Southern Downs shoppers.
“At our Stanthorpe shop, customers are a mix of tourists and locals,” Mr Heaven said. “In Warwick though, it seems to be mainly locals, so both of the markets seem to be different.”
Having his own business, Mr Heaven said he could see first-hand the importance of supporting local industries.
“We really see the value of shopping locally – that's our bread and butter,” he said. “We support as many charities and schools as we can.”
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