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(l-r) Mike Baxter, Bel Thomas, Matthew Saunders, Matt Creber and Donna Freeman. Image” Geoff Helisma

Ritchies Maclean is Australia’s best IGA store

A range of awards adorn the shelf behind the tobacco service counter at Ritchies IGA in Maclean … and an additional shelf might be needed if the store continues its winning way.

Dubbed the 2022 IGA National Retailer of the Year, the store also won SUPA IGA National Store of the Year and the SUPA IGA National Grocery & GM Department of the year at the 2022 National IGA Awards of Excellence, held on July 19 at The Star, Gold Coast.

“It’s the team here that bring us these awards,” says the store’s manager, Matthew Saunders, “they let us achieve what we’ve actually wanted to achieve – Ritchies Fine Food & Wine Merchants has had the vision, and the store and the team have executed that vision.”

Notably, the store has achieved its awards since it opened in October 2019.

“Winning the national retailer award is the big one; that’s the one you strive to achieve, um, because that puts you as the best of the best of the 1400 other IGAs in the country,” Matthew says.

“The next step is, I believe, we go to Las Vegas for the international IGA awards; and Australia’s been pretty good at taking out those awards recently – I think we’ve won six of the last seven international [awards].

“Our team is incredibly dedicated to what they do. Each of the departments has a department manager [some of whom have won individual awards], who are all extremely passionate about what they do, and wanting to deliver their best.

“They are very, very community minded, which is what, I think, is part of the inspiration for what they do. They see that what they do as an IGA store is more than just putting [products] on the shelf.

“Since we opened, we’ve gone through lockdowns, we’ve gone through floods, we’ve gone through fires … where the team here has purely strived to achieve what they can … to put their best foot forward for the community.

“They genuinely want to make sure they’re putting their best foot forward for the community and supporting them however they can.”

There are around 80 Ritchies-owned stores among the 1,400 IGA stores in Australia,” says Matthew.

At the awards ceremony, parent company Metcash Food’s CEO Scott Marshall said, “The IGA Awards of Excellence acknowledge the hard work, commitment and excellence IGA stores across the country have demonstrated throughout the year in delivering and exceptional store experience for their local shoppers.

“These exemplary stores have gone over and above for the benefit of their local community and reflect the strength of the IGA network and the efforts that they go to support the locals.”

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