On the 28th November 1978 a young and keen John Lawrence purchased the local grocery store in Canowindra from Merv and May Ewers. Fast forward 40 years and we now have the shop the locals love to shop in Lawrence’s IGA in Gaskill St. The store as we know it today has been tripled in size over the past 40 years including 6 extensions to the shop, it has endured 10 floods from the Belubula River, employed over 200 local people and donated in excess of $500,000 to the local Canowindra community.
“I have really enjoyed the last 40 years and want to thank the community for their ongoing support each day,” said John. When the Phoenix caught up with Johnny and the team last week we were amazed at how the business has evolved. The longest standing and current employee is Peter Watt who started with Johnny 40 years ago as Store Manager, Peter is closely followed by Gwen Campbell who worked in the store for 27 years.
It has always been a family affair at Lawrence’s IGA with Glennis and John running the store together for 26 years and Betty Lawrence, John’s mother working in the business for 20 years with her son, Betty is now in Moyne Aged Care in Canowindra. Libby Tremain worked at IGA for 18 years and Andrew Watson had been with the team for 14 years. Lawrence’s IGA prides itself on fresh quality food at reasonable prices. The store is proud to have 4th generation shoppers still supporting the business.
The store receives over 10 trucks each week delivering fresh goods for Canowindra. Lawrence’s IGA is proud to sponsor all the football clubs in Canowindra and also the Cowra Rugby League Club. “At the start of each season I like to donate 20 cases of soft drinks to the sporting clubs for them to sell,” said John. This kind donation is appreciated by each club as it gives them a head start on fundraising for the year.
The amazing generosity of John and the IGA team is evident in the thousands of dollars given back to the Canowindra community to sporting clubs, schools and community organisations, with half of Canowindra residents opting to donate their points to the Community Chest program. Lawrences IGA prides itself on using local businesses too, with Kinsela Farm Supplies, David Grant Electrician and Steve Thompson Plumbing used whenever needed.
The bustling IGA store is a meeting place for Canowindra residents where you can always find a smiling face.
Johnny recalls back in 1978 things were very different. “The train used to bring the deliveries and their were no forklifts back in those days so it was all unloaded by hand. We also used a hand price gun to mark the prices of every individual item,” said John. In 2000 the store moved to a barcode system which made things a lot easier. The store recently installed new flooring and the Deli section now offers a much wider range of tasty deli meats, fresh salads, freshly baked breads and of course BBQ chickens!
Lawrence’s IGA will be having some great birthday specials this week so head in store and grab a bargain.
Well done to John and his hard working team on the past 40 years and making Lawrence’s IGA an asset the Canowindra community couldn’t live without!