Outback Stores help grow jobs and health in Ngukurr

Outback Stores help grow jobs and health in Ngukurr

The tantalising smell of hot roast chickens just out of the oven and freshly baked bread now waft through the Ngukurr General Store in south east Arnhem Land.

Inside the store it is like any modern supermarket in a capital city – delicious looking fresh fruit and vegetables are on show, local team members are busy serving customers and filling shelves, the store is buzzing.

The heartbeat and economic backbone of the remote community of Ngukurr, 630 kilometres from Darwin, the Ngukurr General Store was recently upgraded with new bakery and hot roast chicken cooking facilities to increase its fresh, healthy food offerings.

As part of recent upgrades and a focus on making healthier options easier, the store’s layout has been changed to showcase the fresh fruit and vegetables, and new bakery and hot food items. The strategy is already working for the community, with the upgrades resulting in over one tonne of fruit and vegetables being sold each week – a 22 per cent increase in fruit and vegetable sales since the same time last year.

The Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation owns the General store and in 2008 it enlisted the support of remote retail specialists Outback Stores to help improve health, nutrition, training and employment outcomes for local people, while operating the business as efficiently as possible.

“Yugul Mangi is very proud of our partnership with Outback Stores,” Yugul Mangi Chairperson Bobby Nunggumajbarr said. “By working closely together and listening, we have formed a very strong relationship that delivers for the community. We have a great store that is stocked with fresh, healthy and affordable tucker that employs local people.

“We have seven different clan groups in Ngukurr, all are very proud of what we have been able to achieve together with Outback Stores.”

The corporation is committed to reinvesting profits back into the community on sustainable business enterprises for the community’s benefit. It currently employs close to 100 local people across its enterprises including; construction, civil works, Yugul cattle station, hospitality, the stronger communities for children program and retail. In 2018 over $1 million in wages went back into the community.

“Our focus is to provide everyone the opportunity to have a job and a house in the community with our long term goal to end generational welfare,” Yugul Mangi Business Manager Martin Schahinger said.

“For us it is all about local people being trained and employed to work locally. With such a strong and dedicated group of directors I am confident together we will continue to make sound decisions for the future of the community.”

Outback Stores CEO Michael Borg agreed “Over the last 10 years we have built a strong relationship built on trust and honesty, something that is very important. Reinvesting profits back into sustainable business enterprise for the community is great approach and one we support.

Outback Stores is committed to assisting the community with achieving their goals and looks forward to embarking on the next stage of our journey together.”

Future Healthy for Imanpa Store

Future Healthy for Imanpa Store

Located 200km south west of Alice Springs and 160km east of Uluru the Imanpa community is no exception.

With the support of remote retail specialist Outback Stores the community have been trialling a more a more sustainable and hands on approach to running their store.

A local Indigenous shop keeper has been employed to ensure the store runs smoothly on a day to day basis, with an Outback Stores area manager visiting once every 2 weeks to support. Previously, a non-Indigenous store manager was employed full time, living in the community.

Lesley Luckey has been appointed by the community as the local shopkeeper, a role he has embraced quickly, and takes great pride in.

“I look forward to jumping out of bed each morning, making a cup of tea and heading over to the store to get ready to open. It’s important that we have good looking fresh fruit and veggies for the community. To have local people employed by local business is a really good thing.” he said

The stores major focus has always been on providing great access to a good quality, healthy and affordable food. The store has also undergone a facelift that has includes new fixtures, internal signage as well as a tailored range of products and trading hours to ensure the community is well served.

Outback Stores CEO Michael Borg recently visited Imanpa and was impressed with the leadership shown by the community.

“We know it’s expensive to do business in remote communities. By working closely with the Imanpa store owners we have been able to develop and trial an operating model that is more economically sustainable whilst also delivering good social outcomes. Its’s a model we think that could certainly benefit other communities as well.” Said Michael

Member for Namatjira Chansey Paech, is a strong supporter of the partnership that Outback Stores and Imanpa have built over the last 13 years

“To see such a strong working relationship delivering improved outcomes is really positive. Empowering local people to take more responsibility is making a real difference. I get a real sense of excitement from the community around taking more accountability for shaping their future.” he said