Ti Tree celebrates opening of new store

It’s been a long time coming, but Ti Tree residents recently celebrated the opening of their very own community store.

Located 190 kilometres north of Alice Springs, Ti Tree is the main town of Central Desert Shire.

Officially opened in February, the store provides a reliable supply of fresh and affordable fruit and vegetables, as well as other healthy foods.

“People have been talking about this store for over a decade, but nothing ever came of it,” said Central Desert Shire President, James Glenn, who is also a long time Ti Tree resident. “Once Central Desert Shire got involved, it took my CEO, Rowan Foley, and Outback Stores just six months to get it off the ground.

“My home town is a growing community and needs a store with good food at reasonable prices.

“I’m really proud of this outcome and how quickly we have achieved it for our residents.”

Outback Stores was established in 2006 by a group of senior retailers drawn from large supermarket businesses such as Coles Myer and Woolworths, with the support of Federal Government body, Indigenous Business Australia.

Outback Stores do not own the stores they set up, but manage them on behalf of their communities, bringing knowledge of how to run good supermarkets. It charges a fee for the management service, then all profits go back to the community so the stores can invest in better equipment such as fridges, ovens, shelving and community projects.

The concept sprang from a need to find a solution for issues that were becoming common in many Aboriginal communities, such as rising nutrition related health problems, unreliable food supplies, empty shelves in stores, and stores closing because of poor management and buildup of debt.

Outback Stores has been successful because it builds strong relationships with the communities it works with, resulting in stores that people can take pride in and feel part of.

The Ti Tree store began operating in December with a limited range of goods, but Outback Stores has since refurbished the building with shelving, refrigeration and retail hardware.

It is now stocked to serve the needs of Ti Tree and other communities in the region, meaning the community will no longer have to order groceries in from Alice Springs.

Outback Stores is committed to local employment and will seek the support of Central Desert Shire to recruit and train local Indigenous people to work in the store.

For further information contact Rowan Foley on 0419 816 494.

For further information on Outback Stores visit www.outbackstores.com.au