June 21, 2018
Kingaroy businesswoman Abigail Andersson is determined to introduce something completely different to retailing … and help make life a little bit better for some people in the process.
She’s recently made some big changes at Anderssons Fruit Market and if you like soup, juice or community activities you might like to pay a visit.
The Markwell Street business is celebrating its 40th year of operations in 2018.
Co-owner Abbie has ambitious plans to create something completely new to Kingaroy’s retail scene.
There’s now a fresh juice bar and a free mobile phone charging point in the shop, and there’s also home-made hot soup available for “whatever people can afford”.
Communal seating has been set up in the middle of the store, along with some fun games, a community notice board, a mini-library of books and what Abbie describes as “the world’s smallest art gallery” featuring several works by local artists she hopes to change on a regular basis.
With temperatures plunging below zero several times in the past week, it’s probably understandable the hot soup has been an immediate hit with many customers.
“We have a donation box on the counter and no one can see what you put in, so if you’re broke you can get a cup of soup for whatever you can afford,” Abbie said.
“I remember what it was like to be broke when I was a student and everything I owned was someone else’s cast-offs, so now I’d like to help other people in our community who might be doing it tough.”
Abbie said while she likes soup herself, she’s also a big fan of juicing.
“A while ago my husband Dan got crook and his health practitioner recommended fresh juices to help him get back on his feet,” Abbie said.
“But when I made one up Dan said ‘Yuck! I won’t drink that!’, so I did instead.
“But after a week or so when he could see what a difference it was making to me, Dan started, too, and it really helped him get better quickly.”
Abbie now dispenses juices to order and – with ‘flu season approaching – is concentrating on blends that claim to strengthen the immune system.
Abbie said apart from introducing something novel to Kingaroy’s retail environment, another big motivator for her was fostering more community connectedness in the town.
“I belong to a lot of different community groups, but I know a lot of people don’t,” Abbie said.
“It’s important for people’s mental health and general well-being to get out and meet other people, but I know some people find that difficult to do.
“So I wanted to make a space where people could get together without any pressure and just hang out and talk if they feel like it.”
Abbie has also placed an order for a long bench so she can run in-store cooking classes.
“I’m still working on this idea, but people could come in and buy their ingredients in the store, and then we’d show them what they could do with them,” Abbie said.
“I think it would be a lot of fun. Not everyone knows how to cook so it could help some people in that way, too.”
Abbie said her husband Dan had always been keen to see people eat well, and supported her novel ideas.
“I remember one Christmas we were running low on bananas, and Dan got up really early in the morning to go to the Brisbane markets to buy some more.
“I asked him what he was doing and he said ‘we can’t let people go without bananas at Christmas’ and he just went and got them.
“He’s the same with all the fruit and vegies we buy for the shop. He’s down at the markets hours before the sun comes up to be sure he gets the freshest produce, and it’s back in the shop later that morning.
“I don’t know how he does it sometimes, but he just does.
“It’s something that’s always been really important to him.”