Santos's future looks healthy
THE exact origins of the Santos Natural Food Store are lost in the mists of the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, according to acting general manager Ryan Hamilton.
The store went on from there to be a major supplier of organic, biodynamic and natural foods through its stores in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.
Santos also has a burgeoning online bulk food and organic food shop based in the Arts and Industry Estate in Byron Bay.
Mr Hamilton was appointed as acting general manager after a management shake-up at the business in early March.
"I will be working closely with the management team and staff to guide Santos through to becoming the thriving heart of our sustainable community," he said.
"We needed to make a change so that our staff felt more valued and supported.
"Staff morale has really picked up and our customers are definitely noticing that staff in our stores seem more positive.
"Our staff are the company's most valuable asset, without a happy team you just don't have an organisation."
Mr Hamilton sees Santos as a community-based business.
"Santos is owned by 94 mostly local shareholders," he said.
"They are a very diverse group of people that reflect the local community.
"I will be looking to engage with our community and hear how they feel about Santos and how we can best serve them."
Mr Hamilton said that the original purpose of Santos was to give the local community access to affordable organic and biodynamic food.
"Later when the website was set up the aim was to give people in regional areas this same access," he said.
"But we have found that people living in major capital cities are buying from us as well."
Santos is about to re-develop and re-launch their online site under the new name Wholelife.
"Online is a real area of growth potential for us," he said.
"We chose the name Wholelife to avoid being confused with the mining company or the coffee company of the same name."
Mr Hamilton will remain acting general manager for the foreseeable future.
He said Santos remained committed to supporting local growers and local certified organic growers.
"We source as much as we can locally and then within Australia and if we have to buy internationally we do our best to source from Fair Trade outlets."