Organic supermarket hits milestone mark
Organic supermarket, About Life, is celebrating its 20th year of business, with the retailer’s first move into Melbourne representative of the burgeoning demand for ethically sourced and sustainable groceries.
With eight stores across Sydney and having opened its doors in Melbourne for the first time this year, About Life said this has been its busiest year of operations, with the natural and organic industry market seeing annual growth of 15 per cent since 2009 (Australian Organic Market Report 2014). In addition, packaged health foods grew by 8.2 per cent in Australia in 2014, more than double the rate of growth in the broader food and grocery market (Nielsen Homescan)”.
About Life started in a small shop on Darling Street, directly across the road from the current Rozelle store, founded by sisters, Jodie Stewart and Tammie Phillips. The first store was built around a wholefoods cafe with packaged natural groceries and a naturopathic section.
In addition to the Wholefood supermarket and cafe format, the stores now feature self-serve food bars, wellness corners with free over-the-counter advice and a catering service.
“The local communities and surrounds, both in Sydney and Melbourne, have really embraced our new stores,” said co-founder, Jodie Stewart. “Customers are welcoming the availability of a huge range of groceries that are packed full of nutrients.
“Shopping somewhere where they know the choices are great for their health, as well as the producers and the environment, means they are making ‘good’ shopping decisions.”
According to the retailer, the first About Life store was not an overnight success – taking time to attract customers who shared the same ethos as its founders. By 2005 there was a growing demand for natural and organic, and the business moved across the street to its current location. This larger store saw a huge range of fresh and packaged natural groceries, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, and refrigerated ready-to-cook take-home meals were prepared in the new on-site commercial kitchen. The cafe expanded and there was additional space for the naturopathy section. The catering division expanded and in a short time, deliveries were being made across the whole of Sydney.
Twenty years from its inception, there are now seven About Life stores in Sydney (Bondi Junction, Cammeray, Crows Nest, Double Bay, Lane Cove, Rozelle, Surry Hills) and one in Port Melbourne.
“It has always been our intention to be available to as many people as possible,” said Stewart. “We see new opportunities on a daily basis, and we are incredibly excited to see what the future holds for our business.”
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