In this Dynamic Business podcast episode, we chat with Fred Harrison, who is the CEO of Ritchies supermarkets (mainly based in Victoria). Throughout the interview, we learn about his rather unique story and take away some fantastic ideas and insights from his leadership and strategy.
Ritchies celebrates a 150 year milestone this year, and we ask how the brand has managed to become the longest serving supermarket in Australia.
He has worked at the company for 45 years, starting as a trolley boy at 16, and has climbed up to become the CEO since the 1990s. As Fred explains in the episode, he stepped in to the leadership role in a time of great difficulty for the company and large changes had to be made.
Fred talks a lot about Ritchies’ points of difference in surviving so long, and he is very clear on what these are; a lot of this insight is relevant for smaller businesses to model themselves on or adopt in some way. For example, he recognises they do not compete with Woolworths and Coles on the same scale, but does keep an eye on what they are up to. It was actually in the 90s that the Ritchies leadership team came up with the idea of an incredible ‘give-back’ scheme which saw their bad years come to an end.
A sense of community, hard work and loyalty are key within the Ritchies staff family. There is a theme of traditional values and old business tactics in the episode which is very grounding and refreshing. There are definitely some things that younger businesses and startups can take away from this stable brand that only continues to grow.