A Victorian family-owned and operated independent supermarket has found its winning formula – localisation, variety and listening to the customer to give them what they want.

Williamson’s FoodWorks trades in Gisborne, 55km northwest of Melbourne, serving the Gisborne and Macedon Ranges communities, offering customers more than 20,000 products in its 2,000 square metre store.

A member of the Australian United Retailers group, Williamson’s trades under the FoodWorks banner.

Williamson’s FoodWorks store manager, Braydan Rodgers believes the biggest benefit of being an independently owned supermarket is the freedom to tailor the range to meet the needs of its customer base.

“As a FoodWorks store, we effectively have complete freedom in what our range looks like, and this means we can take onboard customer requests and suggestions, which is something that separates us from our competitors,” he said.

“We offer a large-scale supermarket range to deliver choice and options for residents and visitors to the Macedon Ranges, with our variety being a key point of difference in the local area. We stock a comprehensive range of essential groceries with a focus on fresh foods and healthy living, including specialist vegan, organic and gluten free ranges. Offering a range which your store becomes well known for creates a point of difference.

“Variety is important and we are focused on providing customers with options. For example, we ensure fresh foods span the variety customers have come to expect in the market. Rather than just ranging pink lady and granny smith apples, we have around eight apple varieties on the shelves. We put a real emphasis on our fresh foods.”

According to Rodgers, Williamson’s FoodWorks’ biggest and best specialty range is its gluten free products. “We not only stock a large range to cater for customers’ dietary needs and preferences, but we also make it easy for them to spot the products by using a different coloured ticket on the shelf,” he said.

“We have received positive customer feedback on this system and how much easier it makes shopping for those customers. It’s a big selling point for a section of our customer base.”

In the current environment, customers are looking for the best bang for their buck and being competitive is essential and a fundamental part of the location strategy.

“Three competitors are located within about 150m of our store, keeping us on our toes and ensuring we are focused on competitive prices, quality produce and a fantastic customer experience. Our price promise program ensures we match the everyday price on key groceries lines to remain competitive with major supermarkets,” Rodgers said.

“The shopping experience and customer expectations continue to evolve, so retailers must embrace change and keep moving to remain relevant and competitive in their markets.”

Williamson’s FoodWorks Gisborne was crowned National Supermarket of the Year at the 2023 Australian United Retailers Store Excellence Awards. Braydan Rodgers was named National Store Manager of the Year.