HARRIS Farm Markets will open a $3 million flagship store in Cooks Hill that will create 50 jobs and include a food hub focused on local producers.
Luke Harris, co-chief executive officer with siblings Tristan and Angus of the company founded by their parents David and Catherine in Villawood in 1971, confirmed Harris Farm Markets had signed a lease at 219 Darby Street, where Auto One trades and from where the Essential Ingredient recently relocated.
Harris Farm Markets will lodge a DA with Newcastle City Council in coming weeks and Mr Harris said it will be the company’s biggest regional store in terms of floor space and investment.
Slated to open in early 2017, the new site will house the company’s signature market goods as well as other food retailers, with talks underway with local businesses and a fish market operator.
The food hub is still a work-in-progress however Mr Harris said it will feature “local restaurateurs and foodies … kind of like an eat-street food market or food hall, not like a David Jones food hall but with a hospitality feel.”
Despite being within striking distance of rivals Aldi, Woolworths and Coles, Mr Harris said his company’s point of difference would be its market focus.
“There will be a far broader range of food, there will be a bigger meat section, a bigger range of cheeses and yoghurts and the like.”
He said the new store would champion local suppliers: for example it would likely sell single herd milk direct from the dairy – a concept that is being launched in the company’s Bondi Junction store next week.
“Farmers milk will be in store in vats and you might bring your three-year-old in and pour yourself a bottle for home,” he said.
With the tagline of ‘reconnect with the natural joy of food’, Mr Harris said the company worked hard to take the chore away from shopping and make it an experience: “We make it fun and allow people to shop with their eyes and tastebuds and take the kids along,” he said.