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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 March 2016
NEWS 6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM From the Sahara to supermarket success The Greek refugee who now runs an award-winning business worldwide THEODORA MAIOS For South Australian supermarket Frewville Foodland, family is the key to success. The family-owned business has set a high benchmark for supermarkets worldwide, having been awarded the national IGA Retailer of the Year in 2015, and now winning the International Retailer of the Year excellence award at the global Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) conference held in Las Vegas in the US. Founded in 1962, and operating in more than 30 countries, IGA judged entries on their wide range of products, innovation, customer service, employee development, leadership opportunities and community involvement. "It was a very proud moment for a South Australian family-owned business, to be recognised internationally," says 45-year-old Spero Chapley, director of the family business holding company, Commercial Retail Group (CRG). "My father Nick received the award while his hands were shaking. "To him, this award represents so much; it's the result of 60 years of hard work and long hours, day and night." Purchased by the family group in October 1989, the 3,100m2 site employs 270 staff and has quadrupled its sales under CRG's 'Adelaide's Finest' branding and transformation in the last few years. But for Spero's father, 81-year-old Greek businessman Nick Chapley (Chapaliaris), success didn't come easily. It actually all started with Nick's grandfather, also named Spero, who, through poverty, left the picturesque island of Ikaria in the 1930s, seeking to settle in Australia, with the dream to offer a better future to his tormented family who, during World War II, spent three difficult years in the Sahara Desert - under Red Cross care - as refugees. The family eventually landed in Melbourne in 1949, and after years of setting up eateries in country Victoria (the first one being the very popular Wattle Café), they sold up everything and moved to South Australia in ‘Mr Nick’s’ kitchen and coffee bar where shoppers can enjoy a coffee and fresh juices from Youthinc staff. 1979. Today, the family also owns Pasadena Foodland supermarket (renovation scheduled in 2016) and the Banana Blue online supermarket. "Our vision is to be more than just a supermarket. We want everyone to come in and enjoy their experience in a pleasant, personable and friendly environment with people smiling and no selfserve checkouts," explains Spero, who hopes to be in a position to offer another 60 jobs for young South Australians over the next couple years. "Our staff is our most important asset and our rela- tionship with them is based purely on respect and honesty; therefore, it is refreshing and motivating to see that everyone who works here loves what they do as much as we do." For visionaries Spero and Nick, there is no real secret to success but an internal discipline to lead by exam- The group employs more than 700 people but the family refuses to have a HR department, encouraging a personal relationship between the family and their employees. “If our staff are happy then our customers are happy,” says Spero Chapley. Local artist Anya Anastasia on the piano at Frewville Foodland.
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