Fresh growth at Farmer Charlies
DARYL Smith has been working for Farmer Charlies for the past eight years and is looking forward to working there for at least eight years more.
With the recent purchase of the troubled produce store from receivers by Barrobay Investments Pty Ltd, Mr Smith can see hope for the future.
“It was bad news for such a long standing operation to go into receivership,” he said.
“We were all shocked, but I had confidence it would be sold.”
Now Mr Smith, who started at Farmer Charlies in Lismore as a morning manager and has been the store manager for six years, and his co-workers, can breath a sigh of relief.
“It’s great news as there are now plans for the future and Farmer Charlies is here to stay.” he said.
Group development manager for Barrobay, Pete Neil confirmed that changes were in the pipeline for the rescued operation.
“Farmer Charlies has a very strong niche market of fresh produce,” he said.
“It is one of our core strategies to build on that.
“Our company has experience in marketing food, manufacturing, baking and food preparation so we can use those synergies for Farmer Charlies.”
Mr Neil advised that plans for the future include a bakery at the Lismore store that will distribute fresh bread and doughnuts to the Ballina and Evans Head stores.
“We’ll roll it out in stages, then do the same thing eventually with meat and poultry,” he said.
“In 12 months time we hope to have a good foundation on which we can continue to grow the business.
“I could also see us opening more stores in a five-year plan.”
CEO of Farmer Charlies, Simon Burgess is naturally thrilled at the purchase by Barrobay Investments.
“The receivers assured us the business would be sold,” he said.
“Now nearly 100 families in the area are in a situation where their livelihood has been saved.”
Barrobay Investments Pty Ltd is part of a family group of companies chaired by Pete’s father, Peter Neil.
“My mother is also a director of one of the businesses in our group, it’s a very tight structure.” he said.
“Barrobay was specifically set up for the purchase of Farmer Charlies and will eventually change its name to reflect that.”