By Helen Randell
Longstanding family-owned business, Charlesworth Nuts, will have a crack at the Adelaide Hills retail market when it opens its 11th South Australian store in Mt Barker later this month.
The new nuts, dried fruit and chocolate store will open on October 17 in the Mt Barker Central Shopping Centre, with four staff soon to settle in their roles, plus another 12 workers employed in time for the peak pre-Christmas period.
It will be the first time the 80-year business has branched out into a regional area, and CEO Brett Charlesworth says the company has already been warmly welcomed by the local Hills community.
“We are really happy to be opening in Mt Barker,” he says. “The area has a lot going for it, with new estates opening, as well as a new sports centre recently announced.
“We have been pleased by the level of enthusiasm from the community. We had around 500 people send in a résumé once word had spread that we were recruiting.”
New Charlesworth Nuts employees undergo an in-house training program both away from the shop and in-store.
“The main thing we look for is a bright and bubbly personality and someone who is interested in helping our customers,” says Brett, who is also I Choose SA ambassador.
“We are very passionate about what we do, and we have built up the business on our reputation for quality, fresh products.
“We take a lot of pride in our work, and our people do as well. We have many employees who have been with us for 20, 25, even 30 years. We are very lucky to have such genuine people working with us.”
There are also those who are second, or even third generation employees – taking after the Charlesworth family, with Brett and his brother Mark, chief financial officer, the third-generation business custodians and Brett’s sons Rhys, Kain and Liam also working in the business.
The Charlesworth legacy began in March 1934, when Herb Charlesworth bought a small nut stall in the Adelaide Central Market, one of the largest undercover fresh produce markets in the southern hemisphere.
The store continued well for the next 20 years, but when Herb’s health began to deteriorate, he called upon his son Chappy to take over the business.
Chappy built the business further, laying a strong foundation for Brett and Mark who took over and were able to open the company’s first new store in 40 years in the Westfield Marion Shopping Centre.
Four more retail outlets soon followed at Colonnades Shopping Arcade, City Cross Arcade, Tea Tree Plaza and Elizabeth Shopping Centre. New stores have since been opened in Rundle Mall, West Lakes Shopping Mall and Burnside Village.
“We are careful about the locations we pick,” Brett says. “We are all about making sure we are in the right centre, and the right site at that centre.”
Brett says the fit out of the shops is kept similar between outlets, but that the Mt Barker store will include some ‘experimental’ displays.
“Our shop fitters have just finished refitting the Tea Tree Plaza and Marion stores, so it was straight from those projects onto the Mt Barker build,” he says.
The shop displays take around 2-3 weeks to be built off site, then another 2-3 weeks in store when the displays are installed.
“One of our core principles is that customers should be able to buy fresh nuts, cooked on-site, at each of our stores,” Brett says. “The hot nuts are certainly a product which leads people in with their noses!”
With the retail market set to enter the busiest time of year – the Christmas shopping period – the nuts, dried fruits, chocolates and other treat maker is set to experience yet another influx of consumers.
“At this time of year our gift sales go through the roof, as do our mixes, cooked products, and chocolate range,” Brett says.
“We find that people are looking for something to either take with them to a party, or to serve when they are entertaining.
“Now is also the perfect time to pick up one of our Christmas cake ingredient packs which have the dried fruit and nuts you’ll want to make your own cake – and the tried and tested recipe to put it all together.”
Charlesworth Nuts also has a new product out – Salty Macadamia Pearls – with a portion of the proceeds going towards a local cause.
The new line has been launched in conjunction with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation with 20% of the proceeds donated to the foundation’s Beach House Project.
“The Beach House Project is a holiday house at Encounter Bay which has been fitted out with all the equipment necessary for families with children in palliative care to have a relaxing holiday,” Brett says.
“It is all about creating beautiful memories and making the most of the time the family has together. We are really pleased to be supporting this worthy cause.”
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