As an island nation, Tasmania faces unique retail challenges.
Perhaps the most significant of these is the transportation costs associated with moving products from the mainland, which requires a high level of management in order disciplines and logistics to ensure continuity of delivery.
Fortunately, the state also has extensive horticultural, meat and seafood resources and a community that loves to buy local produce, so not all categories are affected.
Grant Hinchcliffe, CEO of Tasmanian Independent Retailers (TIR), says the IGA network members in Tasmania are highly motivated and focused on helping local suppliers and producers.
“We believe in this principle because local communities and businesses support us,” he says.
"That's why we should support each other wherever possible, be it with local producers or the support of local community events."
Retailers regularly support local suppliers with “Tasmanian Sourced” features in catalogs and multimedia advertisements. Some retailers have set up Tasmanian product departments in the store.
“In fact, we have a retailer who has set up a separate 'Tasmania Shop' next to their supermarket, which only stocks locally made products,” says Hinchcliffe.
TIR has established relationships with large and small Tasmanian suppliers including Cripps Bakery, Pandani Smallgoods and Ashgrove Cheese.
"In Tasmania, we are often referred to as the quality food bowl of the Australian market," said Hinchcliffe.
"I expect our customer base to continue adopting local products as the past 12 months have been proven to be a catalyst for trying new tastes and supporting local communities."
Despite the challenges related to Covid, Hinchcliffe said the past 12 months have seen record growth in TIR members' investments in their businesses through modernizations, expansions and the installation of new equipment.
"Given the high level of trust in our member network, coupled with the strength of the Tasmanian economy and the willingness of our members to further improve their business and what they offer, TIR believes these investments will continue into the future."
Read more about the Tasmanian market in The Australian Roadshow in the latest July issue of Retail World.