The Fresh Food Collective is a business ripe to be franchised but making millions should not be the goal of any prospective franchisee.

The collective is owned by retired Whangarei residents David and Sylvia Moore and George Lavich, who took over the business three months ago and now have about 85 regular clients. They started in March with just under 50.

But it is not just about the numbers - and they certainly are not working to make millions. "We work one day a week and we just love it - we get so much out of it," Mr Lavich said.

He said the three collective members started work at 10am on Tuesday and worked through to about 6.30pm, "and I'm absolutely exhausted at the end of it ... but I'm a lot fitter than I was 10 weeks ago".


Mr Lavich said the collective had three distribution hubs where clients could pick up purchases: in Whau Valley, Tikipunga, and the Pulse at Raumunga. They are aiming to set up another hub in Onerahi in about two months if their marketing proves as successful as he believes it will be. The collective is also targeting day-care centres and already has several businesses on its books, including Northpower and the Northern Advocate.

The collective will deliver to businesses with five orders or more.

Orders can be placed in either $12 or $23 amounts. The $12 order (one shopping bag of fruit and one bag of root and leaf vegetables) is enough for a couple, while the $23 order is one bag of fruit, one bag of root vegetables, and one bag of leaf vegetables.

They have a website which includes video demonstrations of cooking techniques for some of the produce they sell.

Mr Lavich said buying through the collective saved clients up to 40 per cent (about $200 a year, he estimated) from buying the same range and volume of produce at a supermarket.

He goes to a supermarket on Mondays to check the cost of a range of produce and then ensures that purchases for clients are substantially cheaper.

"We source most of our fruit locally and it's picked on Tuesdays, the day we bag-up orders, and most of our veges are bought at the Turners and Growers auction."

The three owners don't draw a wage from the collective but do retain money for overheads such as vehicle expenses and power.


Mr Lavich said eventually he would like to see the collective earn enough money to pay wages for administration, the role currently carried out by Ms Moore. He would also like to franchise the operation and has already had interest from a person in Kaitaia.