From little things, big things grow

From a small greengrocer that opened in 1978, it has grown into a thriving business with a growing truck fleet.

Tony & Mark’s gourmet grocers is a family-run operation with seven locations across Adelaide and a string of internal brands including restaurants, florists, delis, butchers, fish and cheese mongers, catering, events, a gourmet product range and a flourishing wholesale division dubbed Tony & Mark’s Direct.

It now employs over 500 staff across Adelaide.

The Direct arm of the business supplies fresh produce and fine food to restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, foodservice and retailers.

Co-director Paul Capobianco, son of Tony & Mark’s co-founder Mark Capobianco, explained, “The business was started in 1978 by my dad and my uncle. My grandfather was a produce grower, and they would help him pick the veggies and then sell them at Pooraka market.

“From there they decided to open their first retail store at Clovercrest the same year.”

Backed by a growing transport fleet, Paul reflected on the success of the Direct offer, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“The hotels and restaurants dropped-off a fair bit during Covid but we’re fortunate in that we service quite a few clients in the healthcare sector, such as nursing homes and hospitals, so we were quite steady during that period,” he explained. ​

“We’re currently going through the tender process with a large healthcare client now. There’s a lot of boxes to tick around your business ethics, operations, the size of your fleet, size of your business, how many people you employ.

“They want to know that you run a sustainable business and that you’re going to be around for the life of the contract.”

Tony & Mark’s now has 13 Isuzu N Series trucks, which are used on the food service side of the operation.

Paul says the business chose to go exclusively with Isuzu for this task; supplying restaurants and nursing homes from the warehouse at Newton.

“We’ve found these trucks help us with efficiency, flexibility and provide good driver comfort.”

The Tony & Mark’s fleet features various fit-for-purpose trucks. The core of the line-up is eight medium wheelbase NNR 45-150 AMTs with refrigerated van body builds.

The NNR 55/45-150 platform offers a 4500 kg Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM), meaning it can be piloted with a car drivers’ licence, with the added advantage of an additional 1000kg of payload when upgraded to 5500 kg for light rigid licence holders.

They are paired with Isuzu’s six-speed automated manual transmission, with its fully automatic and clutch-less manual modes.

The NNR also features a super-efficient, four-cylinder Isuzu 4JJ1-TCS engine, which offers a power rating of 110 kW (150 PS) at 2800rpm and torque of 375 Nm at 1600 to 2800rpm.

The NNR 55/45-150 model range is also equipped with the unique Isuzu FI026 independent suspension front axle, which Paul says helps with a demanding on-road schedule.

“We’ll deliver down to McLaren Vale every day and that’s about an hour out of Adelaide. That driver starts early, loads up, is on the road by eight, and then they would be doing multiple deliveries from Adelaide all the way down south, do the last delivery around three o’clock and make his way back to the depot,” Paul said.

“In a typical day across the fleet, we do around 300 deliveries to customers all over the Adelaide area. That’s an average of between 50 to 100 kilometres a day for each truck.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend