Mandy and Greg Edwards of Edwards Providore both grew up on 4th generation farms – Mandy on a dairy farm in Calivil and Greg on a merino sheep farm in Axe Creek. Their pastoral upbringings gave them a taste for quality, homegrown produce early on and they have been driven by a desire to share this with the community ever since. Mandy and Greg still farm at Axe Creek and are currently working toward having their farm organically certified.
Tell us about your business?
Our business is purely about providing the Bendigo region with the best quality produce available, with an emphasis on locally grown and manufactured products. We integrated the cafe’ into our business in 2011 because we wanted to give our customers the opportunity to taste the beautiful food we were offering in store. We aim to provide the old fashioned type of grocery store experience while providing excellent customer service.
What is the Edwards Providore point of difference as a business?
Outstanding customer service and locally grown seasonal produce. We are proud of the fact we introduced Bendigo to the concept of having a cafe’ integrated into our grocery and produce store.
You mention that your passion for quality/organic/local produce is one of your main drivers; have you noticed in the time that you’ve been running your business that there has been more interest from the community in this type of lifestyle?
There are a certain number of people who do not enjoy going to the supermarket because of quality and how they treat farmers. If you are the type of person who goes to the butcher to get your meat, you go to a bakery to buy bread, you go to a green grocery to buy fruit and vegetables.
How did moving to a new physical location help/hinder the growth of your business?
The move from Strathfieldsaye to Kennington Village has been very successful, this has been largely due to the greater population and increased foot traffic. We’ve also found that due to the more central location we are attracting customers from all around Bendigo and the surrounding region.
Tell us about a time when you made a business mistake and what you learned from this experience?
In the past few years we have learnt that culture in a business is integral; we have realised that the culture starts with us and we need to build a team around that.
If you could share one piece of advice with other business owners or aspiring business owners, what would it be?
Stay true to what you set out to do and back your passion for the business and what you believe will make it successful.
Let’s talk digital:
Are you comfortable in the digital space?
What digital channels do you use?
Website, Facebook and Instagram
How do you capitalise on social media followers to generate sales?
At the moment we do not have a link from social media to sales.
Do you feel that the time and money invested in social/digital presence has been worth it so far?
The one thing about social media is the time that you need to spend on it, however the exposure and reach is amazing.
Do you engage professionals to assist with social media marketing or is it a DIY exercise?
Up till 3 months ago I did all our social media, but I have just engaged with someone to take over.
What is an avenue you would like to invest (in terms of marketing/digital presence) that you have not yet pursued?
Work on our website and online ordering.