Fifty years after a humble hard working farmer opened a pioneering store at Siusega, his family is returning to the same place to pay homage to the legacy of the late Herman (Magi) Paul Westerlund.
As the ultimate tribute to his memory, his son and businessman Taimalie Charlie Westerlund, is opening the newest branch of Farmer Joe Magi’s Supermarket on the very same location.
When the doors open to the public at 1pm today, the family will pause to remember a man who instilled in them the value of dedication, commitment, self-belief and hard work.
The late Magi Westerlund is a man who really needs no introduction.
He and his wife, Agamalu, are responsible for raising the Ah Liki dynasty, who have become a force in commerce in Samoa and the world.
But what many people don’t know is how hard it was for the old man many years ago. Before the Si’usega store was opened, Mr. Westelund had an old Bedford truck, which he had to build a wooden cab at the back to hold vegetables from the farm.
He would then deliver these into town to sell. On the side of the wooden cab, he wrote the word “Farmer.” Many years later when his son, Taimalie Charlie, would open up his first stores, he would reference the name Farmer Joe as homage for his father.
“To be able to open up Farmer Joe Magis Supermarket is something close to our hearts,” a statement from the family said.
“It has sentimental value for my siblings and I as this is where we were nurtured. O le nofoaga sa fa’afailele ai matou, ua alagatatauai le toe si’isi’i i luga le tulaga o le tautua mo le mamaluo le au fa’atau I lenei fo’i vaipanoa.”
It was 1967 the late Mani Westerlund opened up Magi’s shop.
“This location that this very building is built on holds a precious significance to our family as this was our family homestead. I would like to thank the family for supporting the idea to position Farmer Joe on this location.”
The family also paid tribute to their mother.
“Our mother Agamalu (Mama), like her name is a gentle soul. Mama would allow credit to everyone as back then everyone was paid on a monthly basis. Mama knew everyone by their first name. Because Magi’s store was the only store within a 10 mile radius, where all the hard working farmers would go to when they are hungry or need shopping.”
Fast forward to today, the business dynamics have taken a whole new meaning with the Farmer Joe chain becoming one of the forces in the market.
“After decades of servicing our fellow neighbors and fellow passers by, it is with so much pleasure that we are able to inter connect Farmer Joe Supermarkets with Magi’s."
“It has always been close to Mamas heart and it is only natural that we siblings take pride to be able to take it up to the next level in retail. This will be the only Farmer Joe to be named after 'Magi's' as this was rightfully the beginning of our retail experience.”
And as Magi would have it, the children are set to follow.
“We aim to provide good service and quality to all who shop with our new Farmer Joe Magi’s Supermarket.”