By ERWIN CHLANDA
There’s a fresh breeze of confidence blowing down Todd Street North with Market Fresh, a hybrid between supermarket and convenience store, in one corner of the Alice Plaza, and the Wicked Kneads bakery in the other.
They are in their second and third month, respectively.
Market Fresh is “to some degree a precursor to the future of convenience store retailing,” says Bob Soang, of Drakes Supermarkets, the national giant with 68 supermarkets in SA and Queensland, annual turnover $1.2b.
He says the Drakes subsidiary Market Fresh – three stores so far in SA and one in Queensland – has a smaller groceries offering than the “big two” but seeks to excel in the quality of fruit & veg, meat, bakery and home meal replacements, the “heat and eat” pre-cooked meals.
Slightly higher prices are offset by ongoing specials, he says.
Both Mr Soang and Wicked Kneads owner Darren Clark, who moved his business from the Coles Complex, say they have a substantial clientele very close to them: Office and retail workers in the Plaza itself, including upstairs, in the Mall and soon to open, the new Supreme Court building.
Mr Clark says foot traffic is picking up in the Mall: “Government workers, tourists, mums. We’re getting back to where we were in 2008.”
He says there is always a high turnover of staff but “we always get by with transient workers and locals.”
The Town Council could lend a hand by providing more shade, he says. Maybe the sails should have stayed.
Market Fresh, whose local owners wish to stay anonymous, has 25 staff and 700 square meters of space.
The size of the store was dictated in part by available car parking as well as the desire to provide a bit of that cozier corner deli atmosphere.
All the same, the store’s connection with Drakes puts it into a strong buying position and provides top shelf IT support, says Mr Soang.