One of NSW's most beloved fresh produce retailers will soon do something most residents in the state can't, and that is move to Queensland.
After an almost three-decade absence in the Sunshine State, Harris Farm Markets plans to open two stores in Brisbane starting with Clayfield in November followed by West Village in West End in May 2021.
The retail chain will set up shop on the same site where it first expanded into Queensland in the 1980s, spearheaded by Carlo and Susan Lorenti who would later buy the business back from David Harris in 1991 when he decided to focus fully on the NSW business.
Carlo from the Clayfield Markets is a well-known face in Queensland's fresh produce scene, known as the 'Mango King' as he has often bought the first tray of the state's mangoes at auction and donated the money to Redkite and Life Education programs.
Susan reluctantly took the crown, although she prefers Carlo take the spotlight.
"When Harris Farms approached us about 12 months ago with the idea of buying back the site, and having it as their historic family home in Queensland as they expand the business further, we knew it was the right thing to do. It was time," says Carlo.
"To be honest, we feel like we've been keepers of this site for almost 30 years and would only pass it to an operator that feels as passionate about this business as we do. In a wonderful twist of fate, it's going full circle back to the business that started our careers, and our life together."
Harris Farm Markets co-CEO Tristan Harris (pictured) says the group is incredibly excited to be opening at the Sandgate Road.
"It's a full-circle story and we are thrilled that Carlo and Susan are staying on as our managers at Clayfield, along with as many staff as possible," says Harris.
He says the two Brisbane stores will offer produce from more than 300 Queensland growers, creators and producers, including organic milk from Barambah, My Berries from Caboolture, Brisbane's Roza's Gourmet sauces, and organic chicken from Hobbs Family Farms Organic in Pittsworth.
The two stores are expected to employ more than 200 staff.
"The Clayfield store will be home to the best in fruit and vegetables, including a tomato shed, organic produce section and a leaderboard of Queensland strawberries and mangoes, as well as a gourmet grocery section of boutique local products, an extensive deli and offering of more than 200 cheeses, a bakery section with the best breads from sourdough to brioche, and a premium meat selection," says Harris.
"It will be a flavour-filled showcase of Queensland and Australian produce under one roof, and we can't wait to open in November in a city that values their fresh fruit, vegetables and food stories so highly.
"Queensland is famed for the richness and range of produce grown across the state, and to be able to work with so many wonderful producers is one of our dreams."
The Clayfield store will undergo a rebuild, redesign and changeover, before opening in late November as Harris Farm Markets Clayfield.
This will be followed next year by the opening in West End where Harris Farms will call its QLD home, taking over part of the heritage Peters Ice Cream building, built in the 1920s by the US migrant, Fred Peters.
"The warehouse space is nothing short of extraordinary and will allow us to build our flagship Queensland Harris Farm Markets store, with great local fruit, veg and gourmet grocery, as well as some local concession partnerships we're really excited about," says Harris.
"Opening in West Village, one of the most exciting urban developments we have ever seen, is a fantastic opportunity, particularly given the history of fresh fruit and vegetable markets in the West End peninsula."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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