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TODAY is the day that Mosgiel Garden Fresh opens its doors at 164 Gordon Rd, Mosgiel (opposite The Warehouse carpark).
Owners Carl and Tania Acklin and son Jonathan have a wealth of experience, with over 35 years in the grocery business, specialising in fresh fruit and vegetables.
Carl was born into the industry. He even spent the first two years of his life with his bedroom doubling as a storeroom in his parents’ dairy on the corner of Melbourne and King Edward Sts. While he doesn’t remember much about those early years, Carl
does remember hitting his head on a carton of biscuits when the cot his father had put together collapsed.
‘‘I’m not sure whether it was my breeding or the hit on the head that determined my career in the grocery trade,’’ he says.
Having left school in 1983 at the age of 15, Carl joined the family business, Foodland in Kaikorai Valley Rd and Foodland in the Golden Centre Mall in George St, Dunedin.
He recalls busy market days at Brays City Fruit and Lovell Reillys, where all the local shop-owners and buyers competed at auction to buy the best-quality produce from growers both local and from around the country.
‘‘Dad would do the buying, and I’d load the truck!’’ Carl remembers.
‘‘He only bought quality fresh produce to sell at affordable prices — I’ve never forgotten that, and have practised it throughout my career. It will be the foundation of Mosgiel Garden Fresh.’’
Later that year Carl and Tania bought into Foodland Kaikorai Valley, and 18 months later Jonathan was born. Jonathan was also brought up at the back of the shop, however, he was never the victim of falling from a collapsing cot!
‘‘Over the seven years we were there we raised in excess of $350,000, which was most gratifying and it made us realise how fortunate we were having good health.
The Acklins returned to Dunedin in 2008 so that Jonathan could complete a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Otago. Five years later, they moved to Oamaru, and established Garden Fresh there. Using the same ethos of selling quality fruit and vegetables at affordable prices, it proved a highly successful venture.
The business was sold last year and the Acklins moved back to Dunedin to be closer to family.
‘‘And we began looking for suitable premises to establish a new business,’’ Carl says.
‘‘Mosgiel was our preference because of its demographics, vibrancy, and community spirit, along with what we see as a gap in the market for a family-operated stand-alone fruit and vegetable outlet.’’
They see the new shop as being complementary to the range of excellent shops in Mosgiel, and hope that they can contribute to the wellbeing of the town. Where possible, Mosgiel Garden Fresh will be purchasing from local growers and suppliers.
In addition to specialising in quality produce, the shop will offer Anchor milk and cream at highly competitive prices, along with a variety of grocery products that have been ‘‘overproduced or short-dated’’ by leading manufacturers that require clearance at greatly reduced prices.
‘‘We’re never sure what manufacturers will supply us by way of products,’’ Carl says.
‘‘It depends on their stock levels requiring clearance, and it could change on a daily basis. It’s a bit like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re getting.’’
See Mosgiel Garden Fresh on Facebook for daily updates highlighting all the specials and clearance lines.