Peter McPhee, owner, Nature's Fresh Produce Wholesaler, Brisbane Markets, Rocklea, Queensland
Tell me about Nature's Fresh Produce
NATURE'S Fresh Produce Wholesaler is a secondary wholesaler owned and operated by me and my wife Glenis.
We have operated out of a warehouse at Brisbane Markets in the current format since 2002.
What do you specialise in?
We support all catalogue specials for our customers and can dispatch daily, Monday to Friday, delivering anywhere in Queensland, the Northern Territory or Northern NSW.
Being smaller means we are more nimble and flexible than some of the larger players at the markets.- Peter McPhee, Nature's Fresh Produce Wholesaler, Qld.
What sets your business apart from other secondary wholesalers?
As experienced retailers we really pride ourselves in supplying top quality fresh produce, daily, at the right price, and tailoring the produce to our customers to maximise their sales and margins.
We buy everything fresh for our customers on a daily basis, rather than store it in our warehouse.
Being smaller means we are more nimble and flexible than some of the larger players at the markets.
Where do you source your produce from?
We source most of our produce from Brisbane Market and, depending on the seasons and weather events, the other central markets around Australia.
At the moment a lot of the produce that should be coming out of Darling Downs and Bowen has been compromised by the floods and rain so communication between the primary wholesalers in Brisbane, and the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Markets, and when necessary Perth, has been imperative in keeping the central market operational in Brisbane.
We just need to be flexible in dealing with the supply issues and continue to communicate with our customers so they are kept informed of the situation.
Who are your customers?
We supply premium grade fresh produce to independent grocery stores, restaurants and independent fruit and vegetable retailers in Queensland, Northern Territory and Northern NSW.
We see ourselves as part of our customer's team, working with them to strengthen their business.
How did you get into the fruit and veg business?
I was originally the accountant for Coco's Fresh Food Markets in Brisbane and the financial controller, then I became the produce buyer and general manager.
I was there for about 10 years, and was fortunate enough to learn from Mr Coco himself about buying which then set me up to go out on my own.
What do you most enjoy about the market?
The market is never boring, and there is always a bit of excitement, and we deal with the challenges that are thrown our way, particularly recently with the pandemic and the floods.
How has COVID-19, and now the weather, affected the business?
During Covid we were fortunate enough to operate relatively close to business as usual, as we have very few customers who were restaurant dependent and our retail customers remained very strong.
We also managed to buy everything to meet our customer's orders throughout, even during the floods.
We were fortunate to only be closed one day due to the recent floods.
In fact, I have to say that the Market Authority acted really quickly to clean up after the flood and get everyone operational again.
They organised generators for power and lighting, portaloos, and brought in bulldozers and dump trucks to remove all the spoiled stock to get us all back to business as fast as possible.
What is the secret to a successful business?
Good communication and transparency are some of the most important things in running a successful business.
We never tell our customers that they have to take what we've got because that's all there is; we will always go that extra mile to supply to order or a least give them a range of options to find a solution to meet their needs.
What does the future hold for the fruit and vegetable industry?
I think businesses that concentrate on good quality product will continue to run successful businesses into the future.
We all have to eat.
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