Since 1983, Aherns Fruit Market & Fine Foods in Foster has presented quality, fresh produce to customers from far and wide who have all discovered consistent quality. Aherns is best described as a greengrocer, gourmet deli and health food store rolled into one.
The clever shop design is open and convenient. The produce section offers a wide range of fresh, ripe fruit and vegetables available for retail and wholesale customers. State of the art fridges and freezers glisten with deli and gourmet goodies.
The shelves are stocked with the fine foods Aherns is famous for; artisan breads, sauces, biscuits, drinks, cheeses, antipasto items, organic and gluten-free goods and rare gourmet treats. The health foods on offer include a variety of teas, bars and vitamins. And you won’t get past the counter without treating yourself to a little chocolate treat, bunch of fresh flowers or a fragrant soap.
Paul and Mary-Ann Ahern have been creating the Aherns experience since 1983. They are constantly improving and refreshing their offering and responding to their customer’s changing needs and adapting to new trends and products in the world of food.
We all benefit from a philosophy of fresh, quality produce, an extensive range and attention to customer service.
Aherns is definitely worth a detour or its own trip – for a special picnic or dinner party, stocking up on goodies for camping at the Prom or just everyday fresh produce and fine food.
A family business
Aherns Fruit Market & Fine Foods is perhaps best described as a greengrocer, deli and health food store rolled into one. It began business a little over 30 years ago in the small country town of Foster in the beautiful rolling hills of Gippsland, southern Victoria – an important supply base for for the Wilson’s Promontory area.
Owners Paul and Mary-Ann Ahern are a case study in survival. Longevity in business is an achievement in itself. It is assisted by long term relationships with growers and suppliers and respect within the industry. When the shop opened in 1983, theirs was one of a dozen fruit shops in the region. Now the only fruit shop in the area, Aherns’ reputation for providing an unrivalled food experience is well deserved and a testament to the family’s ability to adapt and meet the changing needs of its customers.
From humble beginnings, Aherns has grown into a fine food market with a reputation that stretches way beyond the township boundaries of Foster. As well as providing great quality fresh fruit and vegetables, gourmet goods and hard to find ingredients, the store has a fabulous range of organic gluten-free and health foods and selections of locally produced olive oils and cheeses.
This broadening of offerings over the years is part of a strategy that continues to differentiate and brand the business. It also demonstrates to customer that their interest in food is shared. A champion of locally produce, Mr Aherns own Gippsland Grown label can be spotted throughout the store. The outstanding shopfront experience is matched by a wholesale service that extends throughout the area to towns within an hour’s drive.
This is a truly family business. Mr Ahern grew up in the fruit and vegetable industry, and now his youngest son Dare has joined his parents in the store. During seasonal holidays their two eldest sons can be seen in the back of the shop – their return more a homecoming than work.
A love of Foster, strong community ties and a desert deliver the best quality service to customers has driven the business.
“Locating where you like to live and finding a job that you like can only be bettered by getting good at both.” Mr Ahern said. Mr and Mrs Ahern are clear in the understanding that their customers make a choice to shop with them, and that it is imperative their service, quality, variety and point-of-sale knowledge is deeply ingrained into the business ethos.
Mr Ahern acknowledges that the future is a complex beast to consider, with the generational change, the increasing difficulty of small-business managementand how it’s sector maintains its identity as providers of quality fresh just some of the issues. However, the family knows that providing quality fresh produce along with personal service will always find a customer base.