Owners of the Crazy Sam's chain Frank Brown (left) and Alan Hartl.
Owners of the Crazy Sam's chain Frank Brown (left) and Alan Hartl. Trevor Veale

New lease of life for old supermarket site

ASK AN accountant about starting a new 'bricks and mortar' retail business and they may advise you to consider the growing convenience of online shopping, talks of a national retail downturn and the rising market domination of major multinationals.

But in talking to Alan Hartl of Bellingen, whose company plans to open a Crazy Sam's discount store in the former Woolgoolga IGA supermarket building, you take away a more optimistic view of retail trade in a small town in 2019.

Nothing has changed really, he says. 

Success in small business is still and will always be about good service, a large range of product and shopping convenience.

Alan's a good gauge of the viability of retail trade in a small town in 2019, as he and business partner Frank Brown run Crazy Sam's stores in Gunnedah, Roma, Narrabri and Coonabarabran.

The pair are set to follow the upcoming Woolgoolga store opening with another new business later this year.

"Our phrase is the store with more," Alan explained.

"Sure online shopping is convenient, but what's more convenient is walking into a store, touching and feeling the items you wish to purchase ... supporting small business and local jobs, and having the product same day, without having to drive into Coffs Harbour.

"There's strong demand in variety store supplies for sure. We have more than 3,000 lines of stock.

 

Crazy Sam's Woolgoolga is set to open in coming weeks inside the old Carlo's IGA supermarket in Queen St.
Crazy Sam's Woolgoolga is set to open in coming weeks inside the old Carlo's IGA supermarket in Queen St. Trevor Veale

"Unlike other shops we do not carry a small compact range, our ranges are extensive from hardware to craft, homewares, manchester, pets, auto, toys to party decorations.

"While we don't plan to be another supermarket, we reckon the demand is there to also introduce the sale of the basics, from bread and milk, eggs, ice cream and ice - the one stop shop.

"Carlo's IGA was a big supermarket, we are set to occupy about 80% of the building, it's a floor plan of about 700 square metres, so it's been a big set-up," Alan said.

With stock flowing into the Queen St store staff are busily learning their new roles.

The store opening is said to be just weeks away, with Crazy Sam's Woolgoolga already gaining a hype around town and a Facebook following.

Crazy Sam's Woolgoolga will be open seven days a week and will close on pubilc holidays, creating a host of local full-time and casual retail positions in the town.