Dubbed ‘the greatest convenience store on Earth’, Redfern Convenience Store in Sydney has launched its own private label range of water, with plans to extend the range into snacks and chocolate.

Named after its popular Instagram handle ‘@Redfern Convenience Store’, the natural spring water range is available in 350ml, 600ml and 1.5 litres.

Owner of Redfern Convenience Store, Hazem Sedda, told C&I Week he plans to launch around 10 items under the @Redfern Convenience Store banner including sparkling water, nuts, confectionery and chocolate.

Mr Sedda’s 90sqm store stocks more than 5000 SKUS from brands all over the world as he believes offering hard to find, novelty products is the only way convenience and independent retailers have a chance to survive against the supermarket majors.

“The only way convenience retailers will be able compete over the next five years is to stock products that supermarkets don’t have. That’s the only way they can stay and that has what has helped us as a small business.”

An online store is also in the pipeline in the coming months to sell some of Mr Sedda’s popular international items on offer at his store such as Cheetos chips, Goldfish Cheddar crackers and Chocolate Covered Maple Smoked Bacon Soda.

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Mr Sedda’s products are in such high demand he says customers travel to Sydney specifically to visit his store, with customers travelling from Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and even Perth. He also takes orders via social media.

“The most unique products are mostly from the US, UK, Mexico and Ireland. These products you can’t find at the supermarket. If you do find these products at other shops, you might find one or two flavours, but in my store you find the whole range,” Mr Sedda said.

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“We have a lot of locals that do their regular grocery shopping in the store, and the essential products are still the same: milk, bread, Coke, Red Bull and V [Energy], but chocolate is the most popular category. Reese’s Pieces [chocolate] is a big seller and Cheetos. I once delivered 25 bags of Cheetos to a customer that lived two hours away. I have people contacting me on social media asking if they can make an order for Cheetos, and then they either drive to the store or I ship it to them.

“People are willing to pay for the product they want even if it’s more expensive, Cheetos are $8.95 for a 360g bag, and they’re even willing to pay for shipping. A UK Creamy Soda brand we sell for $2.50 is 39p in the UK, but customers still pay.”

While Mr Sedda and his store on Redfern St have become a local fixture of the Redfern community for more than 15 years, Redfern Convenience’s popularity has also been helped by the store’s following on Instagram.

Redfern Convenience’s Instagram has racked up more than 7640 followers since first launching 12 months ago, just behind that of 600-store chain 7-Eleven, which has with 8200 followers, thanks to Mr Sedda’s popular ‘customer of the day’ photos.

“Every year a major supermarket opens nearby which effects business, but I think having the Instagram account has kept us [performing] at the same level over the past 12 months, maybe even a bit better. We have Facebook and Instagram, but I find Instagram is the best for our business. Any new product I put on Instagram I can sell it before putting it on the shelf. I never thought in my life social media would be important for a convenience store, but I now realise how important it is.”

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