“We make the conscious choice to always choose the brand that is local, Australian, or a small independent business. From experience, it is usually these small brands that are setting the standard for larger ones”
— Jad, Social Media & Marketing Manager, Wholefood Merchants
You might expect to find Australia’s largest health food store in a city hub, not nestled in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria’s outer eastern suburbs. But with the help of a powerful community of creators and support for local businesses, Wholefood Merchants have grown humbly from a small store in a local shopping centre, to stocking over 35,000 products.
Owner Sean has a background in the health industry and took a step away from the family business to start Wholefood Merchants. A first of its kind large-scale health store that sells everything from organic produce (sourced fresh from the market each day) to vegan beauty products, clothing, baked goods, and homewares. The organic snack aisle will make your taste buds water and why not stop in for a coffee at their onsite cafe? As Marketing Manager, Jad says “it’s become a place for people to come and hang out rather than a transactional in and out.”
We recently visited the team to talk about how they got here, their mission, and where to next. Catch the full chat below.
SQ: Why did Wholefood Merchants open in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne?
J: We started as a much smaller health food store in our local shopping center. What the store lacked in size was made up for with relationships built on health, well-being, and supporting our customers. Wholefood Merchants has been built from word of mouth and a true alliance of support with our local community. Seven years later our store is still built on the foundation of these important relationships we share with our customers, a lot of whom have become like family.
SQ: Why is it important for Wholefood Merchants to source from local businesses?
J: We are a local, family-owned business and it has always been a priority to support other local, small businesses. Supporting local businesses, even as a customer, has a large ripple effect on our community, and without our community, we know Wholefood Merchants wouldn’t be where it is today.
We make the conscious choice to always choose the brand that is local, Australian, or a small independent business. This not only supports our community of creators but in turn, we are able to supply our community with brands and products that are neighbors, friends, or small stall holders; usually with big visions. From experience, it is usually these small brands that are setting the standard for larger ones.
SQ: What are the different sections that you have in store?
J: Our store is made up of a fresh produce section, the majority of which is organic, supplements, beauty, children’s items, homewares, bulk, and of course a large selection of pantry products, as well as so much more in-store.
SQ: Why did you choose Square to power Wholefood Merchants?
J: Bec, our store manager was always pushing for us to switch to Square, but moving a catalogue of more than 35,000 products between systems was no easy task. It has already paid itself off and as we grow it’s making things much easier.
Operationally on the till our staff finds Square easy to operate as it’s very visual. We’ve gone from a day’s worth of training to an hour for new staff and they are ready to go.
As we are environmentally conscious the ability to send receipts by text or email has been a crowd favourite with our customers.
SQ: What’s next for Wholefood Merchants?
We are looking to take our store digital and reach more customers nation wide!