Meet Justin Ricardi of Coltivare in Camberwell
Article posted: June 24, 2019
A greengrocer in Camberwell shares its ethos in its name – Coltivare means to cultivate or grow, and that is exactly what’s on offer at this store.
Store owner Justin Ricardi said the Coltivare team has also worked hard to cultivate a loyal customer base.
“Business is growing. We strive to meet customer demand and listen to what people want and watch how they shop and what the trends are,” he said.
“Good customer service, fresh produce and good prices are the key to keeping our business growing.”
Mr Ricardi has just the background to be a successful fruit and vegetable store owner.
“One of my grandfathers was a grower and the other a wholesaler, so I know the business from both ends,” he said.
“I love this business; you could say I was born into it.”
Responding to food favourites
Part of being a good greengrocer is knowing what the people like to buy and responding to food trends.
Celery is big right now, said Ricardi. He knows because he is always on alert to what his customers at Coltivare want.
“Right now, it’s celery. It’s the superfood of choice,” he said.
“It’s a versatile vegetable, great for juices which are popular, and it’s great in soups and stews.
“We stock a variety of spinach too and they are popular and, of course, kale is always a superfood shoppers want to see in stock.”
And, Mr Ricardi said, pumpkin and potatoes just never fall out of favour with the home cook.
Supporting local growers
The third-generation fruiterers at Coltivare are dedicated to freshness and supporting local growers as much as possible.
Much of the produce in store is bought daily, keeping it less travelled, fresh and, as far as possible, seasonal.
“We are proud of supporting local growers and fine food producers and the customer likes that,” Mr Ricardi said.
“We go with the seasons when stocking up, offering that old-fashioned shopping habit. That means our produce is local and very fresh – straight from the morning pick-up to the store.
“You could be buying food that was just harvested over the weekend. In a big supermarket, much of your fruit and vegetables have been in transit for a while and another few days in storage before the customer picks it up.
“Our customers like to have a fresh greengrocer store where they know they are buying produce that hasn’t been in cold storage for ages and is as fresh as possible.
“We do stock some out-of-season vegetables that people always want… but we choose premium imports.”
And keeping up with what the customer wants, Coltivare has a fresh juice and smoothie bar in store so you can treat yourself while you shop.
In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, the store also sells a selection of cheeses and premium chilled products such as dips and sauces, as well as quality grocery staples.
“Camberwell is a great place for our store. We have built a strong business and our customers appreciate what we are trying to do here,” Mr Ricardi said.
Visit the store
Ground floor, Camberwell Place, 793 Burke Rd, Camberwell
Phone: (03) 9882 9388.