Farmer Joe celebrates anniversary

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Farmer Joe Magi at Ululoloa.

Farmer Joe Magi at Ululoloa. (Photo: Nefertiti Matatia)

Farmer Joe Magi at Ululoloa celebrated its first year anniversary on Wednesday evening.

The supermarket’s car park was packed with friends and families showing up to enjoy the live band, fun games for the children and the late night shopping. 

General Manager of Farmer Joe Supermarket, AJ Cowley, shared the history behind the location of the supermarket and its implication.

“It is not just the anniversary of the store, but more like the process of the history of this particular store. Charlie’s father, Magi Westerlund, started the first store here more than 50 years ago." 

“The store itself would be in front of where you saw the caravan, the actual first store and back then this whole area, probably around 10,000 acres was all farm land since he was a farmer himself,” he told Samoa Observer.

“He built the store to support the farmers and also he supplied them on credit and they would pay him and the employees who were working on the farm."

“So they could get their weekly groceries, it was a way that he saw that he could help the community and obviously his sons have grown up and have gone into different industries."

“Charlie and the family have gone into food and supermarkets and you could say that we have gone full circle and this is the most recent Farmer Joe and it is very sentimental to the family because of where the position is.”

Mr. Cowley says they are very excited and they take so much pride in this milestone achievement because it is a celebration of hard work.

“Today’s (yesterday) anniversary is not just a one-year thing. It is a development of the more than 50 years of hard work. We are still trying to do that and to live up to that work ethic that he (Magi) had and still build on it."

“It is modern times now and we are still working together with not just farmers, but also the local communities and the local businesses such as Uncle Johnny’s, Tanoa Samoa and Eveni."

“This is all part of supporting local businesses in trying to grow together.”

SMILES AT FARMER JOE: Some of the people who took part during the celebration.
SMILES AT FARMER JOE: Some of the people who took part during the celebration.

Farmer Joe Magi also opened an ice cream parlor, which showcases not only overseas brands, but also local ice-cream such as Uncle Johnny's Ice Cream. 

There is no secret behind the success of Farmer Joe, he says, it is just hard work and understanding your team.

“On top of hard work, we believe in having that personal touch with our employees. We want to treat everyone as family. We want to know them. I would say that I know most of them, but not all of them because we have new members who have just joined."

“We want to know how their day is going, how are their families doing and what they do when they get home. We want to know what makes them tick, whether they like sports or being part of a church group choir."

“When it gets hard and times get tough, the people who you know them personally and you have that personal touch with that is what will make them work together with you side by side. That is what it is going to make them drive and be there for you when you need them in the trenches.”

AJ also mentioned they have a strong belief in the support of the local communities and the local farmers. 

The mission of Farmer Joe is mainly to help the community of Samoa, he says. 

“We are supporting their businesses and their crops and we get support from them in return as well. A lot of it is hard work and a lot of it is working with the community."

“We feel that and we are very strongly based around the community we are in because the community is part of the Farmer Joe team."

“Our team members live within the area where we are based or with their families where we are based. So anything bad we do will reflect poorly on their community. "

“We all want to work hard and make their families proud of them. We can be proud to say that we are doing this for them as well,” he said.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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