The owner of a domestic rival to grocery companies Coles and Woolworths has revealed how he thinks the pair can win their own game.
Joseph Romeo, co-owner of Romeo’s Retail Group, which has been quietly opening stores in some of the most successful locations of some large grocery stores, also took a spray from supermarket companies and questioned whether they were removing features that customers wanted “for profit.”
Mr Romeo spoke to News.com when the new IGA Romeo’s dining hall opened at the $ 1 billion South Evely campus south of CBD in Sydney, which was built by developer Mirwak.
Romeos – a longtime rival to the big two in Adelaide – Wolves and Coles is in its cross chairs.
It now has 12 stores in Sydney with 27 stores in South Australia. In Sydney’s CBD, Romeo’s IGA now owns supermarkets closer to the city center than Coles, including a branch within what was once a Coles store.
Mr Romeo said his family’s company was at an unexpected Sydney opening ceremony.
“It should have been one store a year in Sydney, but everything was delayed by COVID, so we now have three openings in three months,” he said.
The business was founded in 1987 by Mr. Romeo’s mother and father, Elizabeth and Tony.
He started stacking shelves after school when he was just 12 years old at the first store in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. He now runs the business with brothers Paul and Anthony.
Surrounded by new restaurants and glossy office blocks for the likes of Commonwealth Bank and CSIRO, the Swiss shop is a world away from the sometimes soulless supermarket box. A traditional listed ex-railway workshop, old industrial machinery and pieces of cast iron, time-worn columns compete in space with fruit and vegetables.
From the car park to the store, shopkeepers unfold the building’s rail tradition with folding digital screens across the subway.
Fruits and vegetables are also served in the stalls, there is a large display of fresh flowers, salami hanging from the ceiling of the delicacy near the pizza oven and a walking cheese room. Mr Romeo said the idea was to feel like a market rather than a supermarket.
How Romeo plans to take Coles and Woolies
Romeo expands on some of Sydney’s areas of interest. Both Paddington and Darlinghurst play a shop. The branch on Summer Hill in the inner west of Sydney caused a brief frenzy on the social media site Dictok, with a customer declaring it “next level surprise” due to its cheese room.
Romeo’s new store on CBT on George Street – branded “locally” – has its own restaurant, headed by chef Orio de Elia. Within weeks, within Coles and Woolworths, another local store will open at the Vineyard station.
But Mr Romeo is not about fancy Nosh, he doesn’t think every suburb wants the same store.
“Our competitors are big and use a lot of Australians – which is good for them – but they have a cookie cutter approach,” he said.
“With Romeo you are not going to get the cookie cutter offer, you are going to get something that suits the community and I hope we can fill our local stats very closely.
“Here we have a convenient area supermarket,” he said, pointing to the wall of the gompa, which is higher than the coke.
“But we got a shop in Doonside (a suburb of western Sydney) that was about the price. Now it may be cheap and bad, but we did not do it, we made good food at an affordable price.”
The DoonSite store is branded IGA Superval and painted in bright yellow. In fact, many of its Adelaide stores value the shopping spectrum in the end.
Strictly speaking, Woolworths and Coles have expanded their store designs beyond the old one-size-fits-all supermarket. Woolworths Metro has a line of branded small design stores. Coles owns several small “local” stores and divides its existing supermarkets into three formats, receiving cheese “corners” and DIY pizza outlets in fan stores.
Woolworths has about 12 good food taster Thomas Dux opening branded stores, but they are all gone now when Coles pushes its two-low value chain.
Related: ‘4 Woolies item you’ must try ‘
Putting the teles inside because the big grocery stores take them out
Another difference is the tele counters. Woolworths has removed teles from some small inner-city supermarkets; Coles does this in many doors with low profit margins.
Woollis said it later removed Teles from some of its metro stores “for a limited example from customers”; Coles said he cut off counters from some small and less busy stores. Although Telis will be in most stores.
In contrast, all new Romeo stores have delicates.
“I like the taste; This is a different point, which is why we put it. “
Mr Romeo Snassy admits that supermarkets do not come cheap. Although he will not disclose the budget for the new South Evely branch, he agrees – somewhat playfully – that “a lot; Millions ”of his family’s money.
A long lease, he said, would somehow offset the price of the match.
Mr Romeo said IGAs often stumble a bit and challenge the notion that his stores, whether good-tasting or valuable, are often a bit stumbling.
“It simply came to our notice then. IGA has 1400 stores across the country and you are going to fight to keep the 1400 at the same standard, ”he said.
“But I think the best IGA retailers are the best retailers in the world, as evidenced by the many awards they have won.”
Developer Why IGA
Mirwak is not new to Coles and Woolworths – it has shopping malls that include both. It approached the majors for the South Evely project. But national portfolio manager Joanne Goric told News.com. The developer wanted something different for the place, which would eventually have 18,000 workers, only 10,000 at the Commonwealth Bank.
It wanted to sit in a grocery store with street food-centered lunch spots in modified shipping containers; A new restaurant from renowned chef Kylie Quang and a menu overseen by renowned bartender Matt Whore, where everything from beds to cocktail glasses is made from recycled ingredients.
“It was about delivering something unique. If the CPA is going to get what they can already get in the CPD, why does the CPA want to go here?”
“We had to think about tradition and location, so we wanted to find retailers.
“We don’t want to sell an item, but celebrate how things are made. Romeo is a family business and they are very passionate about food.”
Ms Gorik said South Evely was a “hybrid development” of local communities – 30,000 people living within walking distance – as office tenants.
Mr Romeo agrees that moving his family to the New South Wales market is risk-free. But he hopes they will prosper.
“As a family we have been living with Coles and Woolworths in South Australia for 35 years and we are growing our market share and we will continue to grow,” he said.
Since the opening day, the shop has been frantic. However, he rushes: “I have to go and pick up Mom and Dad from the airport.”
This is not a holiday for Tony and Elizabeth. They want to know what millions of dollars their family has spent on a luxury new supermarket.