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Focus on fresh, local produce the winning formula for IGA retailers

Metcash-owned supermarket chain IGA honoured its independent retail owners this week at the IGA Awards of Excellence with 14 stores recognised across 22 categories.

Fresh St. Market IGA in Queensland claimed the awards for National Retailer of the Year, SUPA IGA of the Year, SUPA IGA Grocery & GM Department of the Year and SUPA IGA Fresh Produce Department of the Year.

The store was described as a “complete shopping destination”, praised for its “huge range” of grocery and fresh products including health foods, bulk foods and products for allergy sufferers, with as many products as possible sourced locally.

“We are passionate about supporting local producers, farmers and smaller companies and whether you want to grind your own coffee, make your own nut butter, buy in bulk or just do your everyday grocery shop, we will look after you,” store owner Michael Shakes said.

Rather than moving toward self-serve checkouts like many of the bigger retailers are opting to do, Shakes instead employs friendly locals to deliver a top customer experience.

The store also switched to recyclable packaging and energy efficient refrigeration in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and better serve a more eco-conscious consumer base.

The national awards were held on the Gold Coast on Monday, with stores judged on a range of criteria including customer service, community pride, department excellence, brand values, sales, profits, merchandising and overall performance.

Preston Street IGA, Como, WA

Preston Street IGA in Como, Western Australia, was awarded IGA Store of the Year as well as IGA Bakery Department of the Year and IGA Fresh Produce Department of the Year.

The store was described as a “market leader” with the highest quality fresh produce, exceptional meal solutions prepared by experienced chefs and a bakery and meat offer that have “set the benchmark” within the industry.

“IGA Preston Street is a great example of the level of excellence that can be achieved by a small size store. The entire team are strong supporters of the local community, donating to numerous charities and supporting many schools and sporting organisations. All this together with old school customer service makes IGA Preston Street the complete package,” the association said.

Loveys IGA Xpress Hawks Nest took home the IGA Xpress Store of the Year award for its well planned store, large range of slice-on demand meats, specialty cheese and fresh options.

Its high quality fresh produce is provided by the Co-op direct from the markets of Sydney and Newcastle.

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