Keeping on in grocery trade

SHARE

Well-known Oamaru supermarket owner Brian Fraser and his family celebrated a significant milestone at Christmas.

It was the 35th Christmas they had been in the North End Four Square Supermarket.

“I don’t know where the years have gone,” Brian said yesterday.

He and wife Trish are still active in the business, as is their son Matt, and they have two staff, Pam O’Brien and Cecilia Biggs, who have both given many years of service.

Oamaru-born and bred, Brian had worked for the Oamaru Licensing Trust and then Foodstuffs when he and wife Trish decided to take the business on.

“Wayne was six, our daughter, Nicky, four at the time. When Wayne left school, jobs were hard to find then. I said, ‘Do you want to help in the shop?’ He did. He’s still with us and he’s a big part of it.”

Technology today was far ahead of what was available when they started, Brian said.

“Like a lot of businesses we’ve had our tough times but we got through them and we’re still here.”

Two grocers operated close to the Frasers when they opened – one next door and the other over the road.

“The one next door said they’d close us down in 18 months! They shut four years after that.

“We’ve come through all right through the loyalty of our customers. We’re dealing with the same people for the whole 35 years we’ve been here and we’re getting a lot of young ones too. They like shopping here they say.”

Long working hours have not worried him and Brian said he enjoyed the lifestyle, meeting people and having a chat.

“It keeps you mentally and physically motivated.”

There were no plans to retire.

“If I stopped I probably wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” he joked.

With Wayne and Nicky married and living in Oamaru, the Frasers have plenty of family around.

“We’ve got six grandsons under 11; they’re all here in Oamaru and we’re lucky to see them nearly every day.”

Another generation in the grocery trade perhaps.

By CHRIS TOBIN