Sad farewell to Richardson supermarket, stalwart of the community

Home for Marinos Haridemos was really only a place to "sit and eat and go to bed".

Where he really lived, and where he and his wife Catherine raised their family, was the business they worked so hard at over the last 20 years, the SupaExpress supermarket in Richardson.

SupaExpress owner Marinos Haridemos has worked seven days a week for 20 years in the Richardson store. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

SupaExpress owner Marinos Haridemos has worked seven days a week for 20 years in the Richardson store. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

"When I close the doors, there will be tears in my eyes. There is a lot of history here," Mr Haridemos said.

"All my happy times were here with the girls. If they we worried about something and needed to talk, we talked here in the office."

The family has told their loyal customers "with deep regret" that the supermarket will close on May 10 due to "the substantial increase in our overheads, it is not longer viable to continue trading".

Mr Haridemos said negotiations had reached a stalemate with the landlord and they had to walk away from the business, unable to sell it as a going concern.

It is a tortuous decision for Mr Haridemos, who employs 18 people. There has been a supermarket on the Clift Crescent site since 1985, the family buying the business in 1999. He made sure to become a part of the community, sponsoring anything that was going, including supporting the Richardson Primary School.

Mr Haridemos said his long-time manager Manoyil Psilopatis was like "my father, my brother, my best friend".

No one wanted to see the end of the business.

"If someone can't come to the agreement, I can't keep stressing out about it and trying to keep the business open," he said.

"I've put in a lot of hours working seven days a week for 20 years.

"The community here has been very supportive throughout that time. They're very sad it has come down to this."

The SupaExpress supermarket in Richardson has been run by the Haridemos family since 1999.

The SupaExpress supermarket in Richardson has been run by the Haridemos family since 1999.

The son of a shopkeeper, whose brother runs the SupaExpress in Watson, Mr Haridemos said he studied to be an electrician, but like most of his family, ended up in supermarkets, also running outlets in Higgins and Hawker.

"We have lawyers, teachers in the family but they all come back to supermarkets. It's in our blood," he said.

Long-time customer Nola Nuske, 88, of Chisholm, was getting help with her groceries from one of the supermarket workers, Alexander Schenk, Mr Haridemos' nephew, on Friday.

Richardson supermarket customer Nola Nuske, 88, gets help with her groceries from worker Alexander Schenk on Friday. Photo: Megan Doherty

Richardson supermarket customer Nola Nuske, 88, gets help with her groceries from worker Alexander Schenk on Friday. Photo: Megan Doherty

Mrs Nuske was very upset to see the supermarket go.

"It means a lot," she said. "Put it this way, I'm elderly and I can't walk too far [to go to other supermarkets] and I'm sure a lot of people are in the same case."

Another customer, Mary, who did not want to give her last name, said she had been shopping at the supermarket throughout the 20 years. She appreciated the extended hours and the shop always being open, public holiday or not.

The Haridemos family is closing the supermarket at Richardson with "deep regret".

The Haridemos family is closing the supermarket at Richardson with "deep regret".

"I raised my children with groceries purchased from here," she said.

"We have found Marinos to be so generous in so many ways."

Mr Haridemos' office above the storeroom reflects the longevity of the business and its family orientation.

His daughters are now grown women, Stephanie is 21 and Christina is 24, but their preschool photos and kindergarten drawings are still on the office walls. Two brothers who used to work in the supermarket and are now in the army, sent Mr Haridemos photographs of themselves in uniform, which he proudly displays on the office noticeboard.

Stephanie, who has been working at the supermarket six days a week, remembers going to the shop with her dad in the mornings as a five-year-old and singing on the "price-check" microphone before the doors opened.

"I used to follow all the staff around when I was a kid and try to help them," she said.

The shop survived a New Year's Eve flood in 2007 and long repairs to Athllon Drive, which cut off a main conduit to the store for 18 months.

Mr Haridemos, his eyes tired and red-rimmed, is not sure of his next move.

"I want to regroup with my wife, have a break and decide what to do down the track," he said.