Leaders Forum: Bruce Spiteri, Managing Director, JB Metropolitan Distributors

As part of the 2023 C&I Industry Leaders Forum, Bruce Spiteri, Managing Director, JB Metropolitan Distributors, talks about the evolution of the business as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

C&I: How did the JB Metropolitan Distributors business come about?

Spiteri: I felt like I had no prospects where I was working at the time, so I decided to purchase a small confectionery business, which I went on to operate from our garage for the first two years, and the business has just continued to grow from there.

C&I: How has JB Metropolitan Distributors evolved since its inception?

Spiteri: When I started, I insisted on delivering within 24 hours, and from then on, the business grew as a result of our service levels.

Since the early days, the business has also grown out of the garage we were originally operating out of, and has experienced continuous growth, including the expansion into Adelaide, Darwin, and Wollongong.

This year, we are celebrating our 40th anniversary and my wish is to reward our staff, especially those who have been here for most of the journey.

C&I: How has the industry changed over the past 40 years?

Spiteri: The need for us to diversify into groceries, beverages and food service is testament to how the industry has changed. Service stations/convenience stores have changed from a fuel seller to a destination point – this was emphasised during Covid.

These customers of ours are now the corner store, the newsagent, the takeaway with the need to continue to offer their customers a broad range of products and services.

C&I: What are your plans for the coming year?

Spiteri: Our Darwin branch is growing, so a move to a fully air-conditioned warehouse is imminent. For the rest of the company, it is to continue to work on being the best in the business.

C&I: What have been the main highlights for JB over the past six to 12 months?

Spiteri: Basically, just being able to see the growth, which has been in several areas including our e-commerce strategy.

C&I: What is one challenge you’d like to see addressed in the convenience industry

Spiteri: Only one!? I would really like to see the measure of market share incorporate the convenience channel, as too much is concentrated on the supermarket’s performance.

C&I: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Spiteri: I love when we attract new customers and achieve that through our reputation for great service.

C&I: Do you have any advice for the industry?

Spiteri: The doom and gloom that is about at the moment is of no benefit to anyone, think positive and never look for excuses.

This article originally appeared in the June/July issue of Convenience & Impulse Retailing magazine, which is available online here.

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