NOW OPEN: Fresh, boutique grocer a first for region
A BOUTIQUE fresh food grocer has opened its doors at Emerald, a first of its kind in the Central Highlands.
Fair Dinkum Fresh has been a dream of owner Jason O’Loughlin for about 26 years, and this year he and wife Tracey have brought it to life.
The new store, sister store to the already established Fair Dinkum Meats, opened its doors on Friday, August 14.
“It’s great to see when customers walk past and see it for the first time. Their jaws just drop, they’re in awe of it,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
In the works since March, the store created about 30 jobs during construction and the Fair Dinkum team has since gained about 20 new staff.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the heart of the store, although it also offers the brands well-known meat, cheeses, dips, sauces and eventually will offer more small goods and cooked products among other items as the business grows.
“It’s all about convenience,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
“Customers can come in here and get everything they need.
“When we get our small goods going, we’ll start getting into more deli lines and things like that.”
The Emerald-based couple will continue to support and source locally grown products where they can, with bigger plans to launch a co-op with Central Highlands growers and producers.
“My hope is to open up a co-op, get a group of growers and myself together and we can supply this shop,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
“What we don’t get from here we’ll get up from the Rocklea markets and what we grow excess we’ll send down to Brisbane.
“I can see a whole new industry coming out of this.”
He said the project would involve smaller blocks of land being more utilised and making the most of Central Queensland weather.
“We have the sunshine here so I can see beautiful tomatoes being grown in greenhouses next to all the other produce. That’s my dream.”
Mr O’Loughlin also wants to set up a not-for-profit organisation as part of the business, that purely gives back to the community.
It will work alongside a new rewards system in the works for customers at Fair Dinkum Fresh, which will include daily, weekly and monthly draws for members, incorporating prizes to support other Central Highlands businesses.
The small-town man has the city flare of a butcher with the country heart and will always strive to support the region.
“The mantra with Fair Dinkum Meats is the quality, value and service,” he said.
“It’s that fair dinkum quality, fair dinkum value and fair dinkum service, and that’s what we’ll always offer.”
Fair Dinkum Fresh is located at The Village @ Emerald shopping centre.