Well-known Goulburn business Farmer Feld’s has entered into voluntary administration this week.
For over eight years the business has been selling quality fruit, meat and vegetables to local customers.
Such produce has been sourced from district farmers and in some cases is the only outlet for such fresh, organic items.
Service at Farmer Feld’s is also always greeted with a smile or a yarn.
Owner Brett Feld explained to the Goulburn Post the reasons behind moving into administration with McKay Goodwin from Sydney.
“We have been struggling for the past six months. It has been very hard and we are under a lot of financial pressure,” Mr Feld said.
“Things are not good for anyone in retail at the moment. Everyone is struggling, but it is especially tough to supply produce in drought.
“Farmers are struggling too. A supplier of eggs told us his feed costs had doubled because of the drought. The drought has had an impact on everyone.”
He cited energy costs as one of the significant pressures on his business.
“We are also battling crippling energy prices. Our utility prices are way out of control – our bill is $36,000 per annum,” he said.
“If the average punter had an extra 100 dollars in their pocket because they also didn’t have to pay such ridiculous power prices our economy would be firing.”
Despite increased competition from the big supermarkets, Mr Feld said his business was more about local contact and connections.
“Coles and Woolies have an impact, but we are different. The customers love our staff. People are paying for the goods but what brings them back is the service,” he said.
“People say ‘you are dearer than the other supermarkets’ but a lot of the lines of produce we offer taste so much better because they come from better growing regions.
“Our supply chain is for smaller producers that don’t get a look in with those bigger supermarkets.
“The big chains are not supporting farmers anymore, they are supporting corporations. With Coles and Woolies the profits don’t go into the community. The wages do but not the profits.”
“Stock is the major cost as produce cant sit on shelves. We are dealing with big sums of money all the time that is not our money until we have sold the stock.
“Then there are wages and insurances, but everyone has these.
“At the end of the day it is combination of all of these factors that has led to this situation.”
Mr Feld said going into administration would allow the business to determine where it can make adjustments and savings to allow them to act responsibly to everyone.
“This week we have entered into voluntary administration to get the business back on track, but we want to dispel rumours that we are closing,” he said.
“It is to ensure everyone gets a fair deal. We have to batten down the hatches and get our house in order.
“The long-term outlook is positive, but we are asking for the support of the community. The last thing we want to do is to close the doors.”
Susan Feld said the staff had stood by the business.
“The staff have all stood by us as well as the suppliers,” she said.
“We have friends who have volunteered their time. They have offered to deliver to workplaces on our behalf as well as just help us out for free. Tammy Grady has volunteered her time to set up the workplace delivery service.
The bottom line is that we need Goulburn’s support. That said, the phone has not stopped with messages of support.”