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Southern gem opens market

Saturday, 13th June, 2020

Patricia Johnson, owner Nardia Keenan and Sonja O’Keefe were busy preparing last week for the official launch of Broken Hill Vintage Grocer at Hegarty’s Hall on Patton Street. PICTURE: Myles Burt Patricia Johnson, owner Nardia Keenan and Sonja O’Keefe were busy preparing last week for the official launch of Broken Hill Vintage Grocer at Hegarty’s Hall on Patton Street. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

South Broken Hill will finally be getting its own supermarket as Nardia Keenan prepares to open Broken Hill Vintage Grocer today.

Operating out of Hegarty’s Hall next door to the South Broken Hill Pub on Patton Street, Ms Keenan will be opening the shop doors from 10am.

Ms Keenan decided to open up a South-based grocer after hearing how hard it was for some elderly south residents to get food.

It is especially difficult for those without access to cars or computers. Some would have to drive mobility scooters across the overpass to grab necessary iems.

Additional motivation came after Aldi choose not to build their new supermarket in South Broken Hill.

Ms Keenan said she had applied for Aldi to come to Broken Hill in the hope that it would bring South Broken Hill a new supermarket.

“So, they didn’t come out the South because there wasn’t enough foot traffic,” Ms Keenan said.

“We can’t have enough foot traffic out the South without a supermarket.

“We’ve been in a loop for six years, one day I was hoping that someone else would start a shop to break that loop, and then one day I just thought, well, it has to be me.”

Ms Keenan said she began with only six products being Croatian biscuits, Croatian relish, Croatian fortune telling coffee, Broken Hill olive oil, ginger bread house kits and Croatian/Italian vanilla biscuits.

But over the past few weeks, Ms Keenan has gained wholesale support from Sufi Bakery and Schinellas Broken Hill, who will be supplying products every week to her grocer.

Ms Keenan said she feels the grocer’s current successes has come from the kindness of distributers who have been extremely helpful.

“I do think kindness has a bit to do with it, because I was told that people laughed at my application with my six food items,” Ms Keenan said.

“But they said ‘we really like this story, we really like that someone wants to help, there’s no supermarket and it’s the long history of the Croatians’.

“I’ve been getting big accounts because people love the Aligich’s story, that we’ve been going for over 72 years as a family business and it’s very old fashioned.

“That’s quite rare in these times, so there’s a lot of support.”

Experienced with organising mini growers markets locally over the past three years, Ms Keenan said she’ll have shelf space available to any locals who would like to sell their own homegrown fruits and vegetables.

Ms Keenan said locals who are willing to pick their homegrown fruits and are nice enough for display will be able to sell them at the shop with all proceeds going back to them.

Ms Keenan is aware that Broken Hill holds a lot of backyard gardens, especially in regards to the South’s migrant community who have a strong history of growing a variety of produce ranging from grapes, oranges, figs, and olives.

“Out the South we have so many migrant gardens,” Ms Keenan said.

“If anyone grows their own food, please contact Facebook Broken Hill Vintage or pop into Aligich’s to let us know.”

Broken Hill Vintage Grocer will be open three days a week on Thursday’s 8.30am till 3pm, Friday’s 4pm till 7pm and Saturday’s 10am till 1pm.

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