The Nut Stand opens for business outside the Liverpool Street Law Courts in Sydney. The Nut Stand quickly gains a reputation for having the freshest roasted nuts in town and soon becomes a popular destination for Customers – on both sides of the law!
After completing a successful stint in the Australian Air Force, Chris Keldoulis arrives back home and assumes responsibility of the family business. Back in those days Australian peanuts, which were the mainstay of the business, were only available for the first half of the year. Never one to miss an opportunity, Chris uses the remaining 6 months by heading north to the Gold Coast to work on his business plan and to top up his tan!
Chris marries his sweetheart Marina in Sydney. Marina soon becomes an unofficial member of staff by overseeing pots and pans and anything else that Chris could fill with boiling water in the kitchen to blanch Almonds – an item that was not readily available in those days.
Chris needs warehouse space and locates one on George Street down at The Rocks in Sydney. Whilst feeling the need to fill the space with delicious produce, Chris decides to start the wholesaling division of The Nut Stand to ease his cashflow!
Chris and The Nut Stand make headline news as they are evicted from its popular location outside the Law Courts to make way for a park. Chris is quoted in The Sun newspaper on January 7th as saying: “What do I think of the park idea? Well, if they were going to put up a 25 storey building, or something like that, I wouldn’t mind. But another park!” “I’ve sold peanuts to everyone. One of my best customers was the Lady Mayoress. …Ah what’s the use …I don’t know where I’ll go now”
Chris misses the day to day contact with his customers and decides to open the new Nut Stand in Paddy’s Market at the Haymarket. ‘Kingaroy Chris’ as he was known (named after the famous Aussie peanuts) helped to keep the public of Sydney in nuts and dried fruit until 1975 when the markets were moved to Flemington to make way for the Entertainment centre.
A firm believer in keeping his family engaged in the business, Chris helped to cure the boredom of his children during school holidays by allowing them to help him on the stall. The ultimate apprenticeship for the four, wide eyed youngsters who were eager to learn.
Chris’s love of buying product leads to a move to a bigger warehouse and processing facility in Australia St, Camperdown. Chris recognises the need to open a factory shop to help him spend more time with his beloved customers and converts part of the warehouse into a shop. From these new premises, Chris grows the wholesaling side of the business by supplying restaurants, delis, fruit shops and the fledging health food sector. Initially half of the premises were shared with another business but as The Nut Stand grew Chris soon occupies the whole building.
As the business continues to grow, Marina officially joins The Nut Stand, running the office, taking care of the accounts and debtors leaving Chris to indulge his passion for the product and the customers.
After outgrowing the Camperdown site (see photo and yes he really did keep stock outside) Chris spends an eternity looking for new premises. Top of his list was more space for his stock and room for a shop. Finally, The Nut Stand moves to its current premises in Alexandria.
In direct response to his Customer’s needs and a gap in the market, Chris launches the premium food brand ‘The Natural Grocer’. This first attempt was less than successful thanks to a rushed, frantic design process and was not very appealing.
Chris proudly relaunches The Natural Grocer premium food brand with new and much improved design and packaging. Thus realising a dream Chris had held for many years.
Chris Keldoulis sadly passes away, leaving the next generation of the family to continue his legacy.
The Natural Grocer web site is launched and reaches a whole new, much wider audience. Soon orders are coming in from all around Australia and overseas, introducing a whole new customer base to the brand.
Chris’s son Anthony is appointed as Managing Director and a watershed moment in the business takes place, with a new strategy implemented which sees a return to traditional values and places more emphasis on the health food sector and retail in general.
Time for another packaging change and The Natural Grocer gets a new logo and further improvements to the range. The Natural Grocer brand becomes a key player in the premium food retail sector and continues to support the health food market.
A brand new website ushers in a new phase for the business. Within a few months we win “Best in Class’ in the Food & Beverage category at the prestigious 2012 Interactive Media Awards (IMA).
Whilst touring Australia, The Rolling Stones put in a request for The Natural Grocer Raw Deluxe mix. We found out that both Mick and Keith like to nibble on our nuts between gigs! Needless to say we were very excited.
New additions to the range include Goji Fruit & Nut muesli, Cranberry & Goji Trail mix, Multigrain & Chia crisps, Chia seeds and Goji Berries.