Ritchies Stores Pty Ltd
In 1870, when Thomas Ritchie opened a grocery store in the tiny country settlement of Frankston, he did so intent on three things – keeping his shop competitive, rewarding staff and donating part of his profit back to the community. Now 150 years on, Ritchies is Australia’s largest independent supermarket and liquor chain, a company in which many staff have shares and the founders “shilling for every pound” offer has grown into the Community Benefit program.
Ritchies currently donate many millions of dollars each year to the clubs, kindergartens, schools and charities nominated by shoppers. In the last sixteen years alone $30 million has been given back to the community.
On Black Saturday 7th February 2009, Ritchies were conducting their official launch of their Yarra Glen Supermarket. Fred Harrison, CEO and Malcolm Cameron, Director, Ritchies Stores were on hand at Yarra Glen and, as the tragic events unfolded, they were very much involved with the bushfire evacuation which took place in the Yarra Glen/Kinglake region.
Ritchies threw open their new Supermarket for use as a safety house and throughout the course of the evening over 500 people and pets took refuge. Lining the aisles were the sick, the old and the very young including a five week old. Fred Harrison was directing his staff and no expense was spared in providing the essentials to those gathered. Bottled water, soft drinks, food and anything required was handed out freely. Fire fighters and police headed there for respite from the horrific conditions. Fred accommodated everyone, making announcements over the public address system and answering everyone’s questions. His quick thinking and obvious leadership skills helped countless people.
Through their Community Benefit card program, Ritchies have donated $100,000 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal with customers and staff raising an additional $90,000 in the months of February and March. This contribution will continue to grow in the months ahead as many new and existing Community Benefit card holders have elected the Bushfire Appeal as their charity.
Ritchies Community Benefit Card Program donates a percentage of the money spent by customers to their nominated club, school or charity. Ritchies have been at the forefront in establishing this incredible program and as a result, many hundreds of thousands of lives have been improved.