Spotlight on Local Business - Kirk’s IGA

28th Jul 2020

How long have you been in business?
The Kirk Family has been operating businesses at 94 Bradley Street for over 60 years, however the transition was made to become an IGA and supermarket only in the early 2000s. This was a great decision as it allowed the supermarket to grow and the other businesses to expand into their own buildings around Guyra.

How many staff do you employ?
Kirk’s IGA usually has about 33 staff on the pay roll at any one time.

What services do you offer?
Aside from our vast range of fresh and dry groceries, Kirk’s IGA offers free home delivery within town boundaries with orders over $20.

What is the best/worst thing about owning your own business?
The most positive thing about owning an independent business is the freedom to range any products you wish. This allows us to order in ANYTHING on request for ANYONE.
The downside of owning a business like Kirk’s IGA is the out of hours callouts, breakdowns and deliveries that can eat away into personal and family time.

How have things changed since you started?
The technological advancement in retail has seen great changes in the way tills and checkouts are operated. In the early days, every item was keyed in on an old cash register and similarly ordered from suppliers by a checklist or order sheet that was faxed or even posted away. Nowadays, everything is automated and electronically scanned, ordered, and even paid for. EFT makes up over 70% of payments in the current day.

What effects have challenges such as drought, bushfires and coronavirus had for your business?

2020 has been a testing year for all members of our region. Specific to our business has been the struggle with supply of goods and keeping their cost down. The drought saw the price of meat and grains continually rising to a peak when the rain finally arrived. Covid-19 and the panic buying that swept the nation saw supply of products like flour, hand soap and rice in a nation-wide shortage which has only eased in the past 3 weeks to a continual supply. All in all, it has been an on-going struggle in maintaining supply levels at competitive prices. However, our staff going over and beyond has ensured the Guyra community has had as much of the desired products as physically possible through the testing times.

What is the most interesting job you have carried out?

Working closely with the VRA in the months of lockdown. Going to people’s homes, meeting interesting people and hearing their interesting stories was certainly something out of the ordinary for this business. However, it was all worth it knowing those most at risk were able to get all the things they needed in the height of the pandemic.

Do you get good feedback from your customers?

Like any business you always receive good and bad feedback. The good is always nice to hear and the bad ensures you work hard to ensure everyone has a good experience and you try your hardest to rectify anything that has not been so good.

Any advice for people starting out in business?

Understand all operations in your business and the people who undertake each of these. Your staff are the business.

Your business is in one of Guyra’s oldest buildings – what businesses have preceded you in these premises?

Back to the days of the Guyra Stores where this building was home to a food store, a hardware, a clothes shop and a farm supplies store out the back. Over the years the town has grown, and these businesses have grown with it into other buildings and shops further afield.

What footy team do you support?
There is a rich Manly Sea Eagles history in the IGA but all supporters are welcomed!

Final thoughts?

This is a great opportunity to thank the Guyra community for their support in such a testing time. Supporting local businesses allows them to continue to give back to the community in so many ways; from charitable donations, sponsoring sports clubs and days, work experience with schools and students and most importantly providing jobs to local families and young adults.