With its vibrant blue and white colour scheme, Acacia Transport’s new Legend SAR is a definite stand-out. Delivered in July this year and spec’d up to the max, it was put straight to work and has so far racked up over 10,000 kilometres, delivering fresh produce into supermarkets around the Blue Mountains region of NSW on a daily basis.
Its driver Aaron Broz, 36, was lucky enough to be handed the keys to the new truck. He snapped a photo of the Legend at the yard, just before its first official day on the road – and shared it with Big Rigs via Facebook, through our daily #PicOfTheDay competition.
Our readers were clearly impressed, with the photo garnering more than 5300 likes and over 380 shares.
It is one of 30 trucks that form part of the Acacia Transport fleet, a family-run operation with depots at Homebush in Sydney’s Inner West, and Riverstone in regional NSW.
Husband and wife team Angelo and Rowena Mezzomo started the business in 1995.
A diesel mechanic by trade, following in the footsteps of his father, Angelo, 53, had tried to get into truck driving early on with little success, but then the tables turned.
He started his apprenticeship when he was just 15 and then got his truck licence at 19. “I was trying to get a job carting coal because I had a few relatives who were truck drivers. At the time I couldn’t get a start anywhere because of my age,” Angelo recalled.
“I wanted to be a truck driver but I just couldn’t get a job so I never really got the opportunity to drive for anybody. But I do remember as a young fella really trying. Back then, I saw truck driving as an opportunity to make big money and work long hours, so you could do quite well out of it.”
That was until an opportunity came up to cart plants into supermarkets for Davidson’s Nurseries.
“I had a little service truck we used to use for breakdown work and that sort of stuff, so we stripped all the tools out of it and started carting plants,” revealed Angelo. And that marked the beginning of Acacia Transport.
“It all just sort of happened. That wasn’t anything we had planned. One thing led to another and I decided I’d rather be driving trucks than swinging tools around.”
Then, as they say, the rest is history. “Things just grew from there,” Angelo said.
Soon after, he and Rowena purchased their first prime mover, a 1995-model Kenworth K100E, which they still have.
As Angelo explained, “We purchased it second hand about 25 years ago. It’s a spare vehicle now, we use it on local work, so we don’t send it away on any big jobs any more. Our mechanics refurbished it about three years ago. It’d have about 3 million kilometres on the clock.”
While carting for the nursery, Angelo met someone at the docks one day, who was carting chrysanthemums for Franklins Supermarkets (now part of IGA).
“I got asked if I could deliver their fruit and vegetables into Franklins, that was about 2000, and that’s when we really started growing. Up until that point, we just concentrated on plants for the nursery industry,” he explained.
“We had the drought in the early 2000s, where there were water restrictions in Sydney, and that killed the nursery industry in NSW. Supermarkets stopped stocking plants so that pushed us into a different direction, which we were already heading into anyway with Franklins. One door closed but another one opened.
“I think we had a lot of luck in growing the business the way we did. I managed to meet the right people and provide the right service at the right time.
“We’ve grown off the back of a lot of hard work and good luck, but I think we created a lot of that good luck too.”
By taking the Franklins contract on, the fleet quickly tripled, growing from five trucks to 15 in only two years.
“And we just kept growing from there. It was a gradual growth. We tried to hold the handbrake on for as long as we could. We didn’t want to grow too quickly and become unreliable, so we definitely did hold back – but we grew as quickly as we could, both financially and physically,” said Angelo.
Acacia Transport held the contract with Franklins for about 10 years, until they sold out of Australia in 2010. It was at that point that Angelo was approached by Coles, to ask if he was interested in delivering for them based on the same sort of model he had done with Franklins.
This meant having freezer, dairy and grocery products all on the one truck in the same load to deliver to regional supermarkets – which the company still does to this day.
The fleet is made up of 24 prime movers, which all run as single trailers to regional parts of NSW; and six rigids, ranging from six through to 10 pallets, that are mainly used for local runs. It also employs approximately 40 people.
Today its main customers are Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Aldi and Costco, delivering into their distribution centres and supermarkets on a daily basis, as well as carrying produce out of the Sydney markets.
Despite the company’s growth, Angelo still likes to get back behind the wheel whenever he can. “There wouldn’t be a week that goes by that I wouldn’t jump into the trucks. I’m a relief driver and still very hands on – I always have been,” he said.
Though most trucks in the fleet are Kenworths, there are also Isuzu, Hino, Volvo and Scania models in the mix too.
But it’s the new Legend that’s now the pride of the fleet. With the limited-edition truck being purchased three years earlier, when it was on sale for one day only, Angelo was thrilled to finally be able to take delivery of the impressive rig.
Broz has been with the company for about 10 years and was thrilled to be given the new truck to drive. He does the regional runs into the Blue Mountains each day.
“I believe the first truck he drove was a 1985 SAR, so he has a bit of a soft spot for this truck too. He was pretty excited about it when he found out,” said Angelo.
“This is Aaron’s third new truck since he’s been with us. He’s a very old school driver and operator. He does a really good job for us and looks after the equipment. He was next in line for a new one, so he got this one.
“We generally turn trucks over every three to four years but that has changed in the last few years after covid due to availability and the cost increases of new trucks. But our trucks are very well maintained, we look after them as best we can.”
The Legend has a totally different look to the rest of the fleet. “I thought that since it’s something special, we’ll go all out and make it look the part. We did a couple of trucks up when we turned 25 as well. They were painted in different colours with different schemes.”
The truck was ordered through salesman Bill Anderson at Gilbert and Roach in Sydney, who Angelo has dealt with for close to 25 years.
“I’ve bought a lot of trucks from him over the years and he’s done an outstanding job in getting all our trucks out on the road, especially this one. We wanted to make it really stand out so we sat down with pen and paper and put some colour schemes together and decided on this one.”
As well as the impressive paintwork, there were extra lights, extra chrome, an Icepack, television, fridges and microwave added. “It has all the luxury bells and whistles that helps the driver enjoy his stay in the truck,” said Angelo.
“My mechanics – Mick, Dave and John – at North West Trucks at Riverstone do all our work, but they did a lot of work on this truck to make it look as pretty as it does. They do all our maintenance and repairs and are a really good bunch of guys, who are a vital part of my business. They added all the extra bling to the Legend before it went out on the road.
“I’m glad people like it – I’m over the moon with it, it’s a very nice-looking truck. It’s a sense of achievement for us as a company. This is the first Legend we’ve ever had.”