submitted by George Poulos on 26.12.2004
In 1950 my father rented a shop in Miller Street, Gigandra, the main street, from another Kytherian in the town, Jack Pentes, and established the Gilgandra Fruit Mart.
When he first opened the fruit mart, about 9-10 outlets in Gilgandra sold fruit, but fruit was not their central or core business. My father's initial aim was to reduce the number of business's that sold fruit, and to dominate the retailing of fruit in Gilgandra.
One way of doing this was to always get back to the source of the produce - he bought very few of his fruit and vegetables from Wholesaler's - whose margins were often as high as 40%.
The other way is exemplified by the Poulos Fruit Mart truck depicted in this photograph. (On the back of the photograph is written in Greek, "to truk pou pai yiro me ta frutta kai lahana" - "the truck that goes around with the fruit and vegetables").
My Uncle Nick "Belos" Coroneos (my mothers younger brother), is driving the truck, and in the left hand corner, George Con Poulos, and his younger brother, Peter Con Poulos are waving goodbye.
Between Monday morning and Saturday afternoon, for a quarter of a century, the truck would do a "run" around the town - stopping at various corners, and certain "spots", and calling on designated customers - and selling initially fruit and vegetables from the back of the truck. As time passed, the truck became larger, and more and more goods were added, sweets, cigarettes etc, until eventually it carried quite a large stock of produce.
Nick Coroneos would later marry one of the shop assistants in the store - Beryl Palmer. Her brother, Alan "Nuts" Palmer would take over from Nick as the truck driver. Before he left Gilgandra, Con George Poulos sold the truck run business to Alan Palmer, and he maintained the business until his early demise.
The Fruit Mart Truck became almost an institution in Gilgandra. Although I saw many attempts to replicate the "truck" experiment in many Central Western towns in NSW, none was as effective, or enjoyed the longevity and profitability of business, that the Gilgandra Fruit Mart truck enjoyed.
Interior of the Fruit Shop at 42 Miller Street, Gilgandra, established in 1959
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