Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Gourmet grocer opening doors on a new brand

Janene Draper says Farro Fresh emphasises quality while Trader Jacks will focus on value. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Janene Draper says Farro Fresh emphasises quality while Trader Jacks will focus on value. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The founders of high-end gourmet grocer Farro Fresh are opening a new brand at their existing Hamilton site tomorrow as part of an expansion which could challenge New Zealand's supermarket duopoly.

Janene Draper, a Farro director, outlined how six new stores were planned and said a new store brand, Trader Jacks, would open at Tainui's The Base tomorrow.

In what could be a tilt at Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs, she said plans were in hand for Trader Jacks to open in Auckland areas soon.

"We're running under two separate formats: quality and value," she said of the Farro/Trader Jacks offering.

Trader Jacks would offer value but retain quality and was different to Farro Fresh because it would stock a wider range of items such as toiletries and cleaning products, she said.

On May 15, the new Farro Fresh will open at 34 Westmoreland St, Grey Lynn and 70 staff had already been employed, she said.

About 30 people would work at Trader Jacks in Hamilton.

Critics said budget-conscious Waikato shoppers forced Farro to change to Trader Jacks, going downmarket with the type of goods it was offering because locals would not pay the high prices which worked so well in Auckland.

Some people were surprised by the name change in such a short space of time. Farro opened only nine months ago at The Base.

Last year, the Mt Wellington Farro won the Auckland Central Business Awards Excellence in Retail category, sponsored by the Herald. It opened in 2006, specialising in New Zealand-produced artisan food.

Staff there are trained to give advice and guest chefs present cooking demonstrations with in-store tastings.

Since opening, Farro says it has achieved sales growth of an average of 65 per cent per year and staff numbers had risen from 16 to a team of 180 across three stores.

Draper said the business had grown mostly by word of mouth.

Progressive and Foodstuffs are also on a big expansion drive, developing 39 new or replacement supermarkets, worth nearly $600 million, throughout New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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