A father son team with a passion for fresh produce are looking to make healthy organic food easier than ever for households. With some lofty goals and plenty of enthusiasm, even after 50 years in business the team from Vari’s Organics are aiming to revolutionise the fresh food business and tackle the big supermarkets with a return to community focused fresh food.
Do you find grocery shopping time consuming? Are you frustrated when expensive fruit spoils after one or two days after spending precious weekend hours battling crowds and paying a fortune? Reno Vari, from Vari’s Organics, growing up around his father’s fruit and veggie shop always understood the value of quality produce, but heard his time poor friends becoming increasingly frustrated with their weekly shopping experience.
How it all started
Reno says he always had a passion for organic food, because he wanted his children to have good healthy food without preservatives, like he remembers as a child.
But Reno’s light bulb moment came from an unlikely source… the local primary school.
A local mothers group requested all organic fruit and vegetables for an event, and wanted it packaged into boxes. Reno was initially cautious about switching to organic produce, given his father’s over 48 year history selling conventional produce.
“My dad and I have always taken pride in the quality of the produce and we wanted to make sure the variety and quality of produce existed from organic suppliers before switching the whole store to organic, so we started small, with boxes only initially sold to the mums at the local school”.
Over time word spread and the ‘organic boxes’ became more popular.
“Looking back it was the best thing, we got to trial some great organic suppliers and refine the different box sizes and types for different family sizes and tastes, and then we started selling them online, to make it easier to manage”, Reno said.
After a little while, “I started stocking organic produce in the shop and we started offering delivery of the organic boxes as well as pick up from the shop” Reno added.
The service became so popular that Reno made the tough decision to switch the store to an organic only produce, “It was a huge decision, given how long we have been in business, but so right”, he said.
Customers visit www.varisorganics.com.au and order from a selection of fruit and vegetable or just veggie boxes, regular or family sizes (five types of boxes available).
The produce is hand selected each week according to what is the best quality and in season, boxes are hand assorted by Reno’s small team, and then delivered once a week or picked up from the store. (Customers can select from Friday or Saturday delivery)
“It’s simple, we do the hard work of grocery shopping for our customers and we start with the grower, ensuring the best quality and finish at our customers house for ultimate convenience,” Reno says.
How is Vari’s Organics doing so far?
Vari Organics has capitalised on changing shopper tastes and increased value on convenience, having experienced huge growth in its organic box delivery service.
“We have delivered over 26,000 boxes to thousands of customers and we are still growing, we are targeting at getting to over 100,000 boxes by the end of 2016!”
Vari’s Organics, now an institution in Melbourne’s west, deliveries all over Melbourne, “We started with deliveries in Footscray, West Footrcray and Seddon, but now we go regularly all over the west and into the city, eastern and south eastern suburbs,” Reno recalls.
Started by Reno’s father on Barkly St, West Footscray in late 1965, Vari’s Organics, celebrated its 50th year in business in November last year and is looking to a bright future. “We are looking at expanding the organic boxes delivery, across all of Victoria and who knows maybe later all over the country”.
But Reno, still humble and pensive, tells how his work while grueling is really rewarding, because he knows that it helps so many of his customers so much time, replacing a lot of their time usually set aside for the family weekly shop.
“It’s tiring, but it does feel good, because I know what it likes with kids and how hectic weekends can be. If we can help by making things a little easier and at the same time keep them healthy, that’s pretty cool,” he remarked.
Reno’s customers love his service, convenience of delivery and the super high quality of all the organics in the boxes, “You can’t just pick up quality produce like this, it’s really hard to get all this stuff perfect, I watch over every box to ensure nothing goes into a box that I wouldn’t be happy, taking a photo and putting it on my wall. All the produce has to be picture perfect and of course taste fantastic.”
“Otherwise, do you think our customers come here for my good looks?” Reno said while laughing.