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Sourcing local saves Esperance food stores from shortages during road closures

Esperance food stores that source products locally did not experience shortages during this month’s bushfire-related highway closures.

Bob and Jim’s General Store in Esperance buys most of its fresh produce from the Canning Vale Markets in Perth, with at least three trucks replenishing stock levels each week.

Store owner Anna Stewart said some customers had been surprised to see the store’s fully stocked shelves during the Eyre Highway’s near two-week closure.

“We have been able to keep stock levels as normal,” she said. “People who don’t shop with us regularly were surprised at the difference after going up to Woolworths.

“It opens people’s eyes to be more conscious about where their produce is coming from.” Ms Stewart has owned the Esperance grocery store for three years and said supporting local growers had been a priority from day one.

“The business model we had when we took over the shop was to try and source as much West Australian produce as possible,” she said.

“If we can’t get it from WA, we would go to other Australian producers and we very rarely get international produce.

“We do sometimes get some Asian mushrooms from overseas and that’s because there is not a producer for them in Australia.”

Pink Lake Butchers is another Esperance business that maintained a fully stocked fridge this month.

Co-owner Kaaron Mitchell said stock levels had not been affected by road closures because the store supported WA producers.

“We have had absolutely no issue with it at all and it’s definitely because we source local,” she said.

“Most of our meat comes from the South West and we do source some of our pigs from a couple of local breeders,” she said.

“Some of our dried goods may have to come from over east but it is very rare.”

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