History

albert_web1Albert and Maria Palamara and family have been involved in the fresh produce industry for over 50 years and have been servicing the Mt Eliza Community & Mornington Peninsula area for over 18 years with consistent high quality and service.

Albert started out as an Italian migrant worker sponsored by his sister Sarina and her husband in their Glenhuntly fruit shop, it didn take long for Albert to realise he had the know how to setup his own shop and did so with his brother Joe on Centre Rd in East Bentleigh. Together they operated their business for 17 years. 

Albert recalls It was very different trading in those days, there was custom service where the fruiterer would pick out everything for the customer and we only stocked seasonal produce from Victoria with the exception of bananas and some tropical fruits. We would smoke in store while working and so would the customers, we would even light their cigarettes for them! The other significant difference was the produce market was held at the Queen Elizabeth Market (now known as Queen Victoria Market). There were no fork lifts or curtain side trucks, everything was hand loaded at market and hand unloaded back at the shop. Those days were hard!

During this time Albert and Maria had settled in East Bentleigh and welcomed the arrival of their three children Steve, Richard and Marisa.
After 17 years in East Bentleigh Albert wanted a new challenge and decided to sell up and move on. He fancied a little beachside town called Mt Eliza.
Albert and Maria moved the family there, took a twelve month break from the industry then opened Albert's Fruit Supply in Seaford next door to Leo's Tuckerbag (now Ritchies IGA). It didn take long for the business to take off and Albert employed a couple of fulltime staff along with his sons Steve and Richard who helped after school and on weekends. Steve especially took a shine to the family business and it was not long before he knew he would follow in his father's footsteps.
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At the tender age of 18 Steve noticed an old rundown fruit shop in Mt Eliza for sale. He convinced Albert and Maria to go and have a look, and Albert purchased it and opened MT ELIZA VILLAGE FRUITS!

Albert knew it was going to be hard work running both shops but with Steve's enthusiasm and willingness to do the job along with Maria, Richard and Marisa who all dedicated every spare moment they had to running the new shop, the business thrived in Mt Eliza with potential to grow even more. Albert realised that the Mt Eliza Village Fruit shop was where he wanted to focus his skill and passion for the industry. He sold the shop in Seaford and joined the rest of the family in Mt Eliza Village Fruits where they all put their heart and soul into growing the business.
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It was not long before Albert employed a few more staff to keep up with the growing demand of loyal customers shopping everyday.

This shop was small and bursting out onto the street with displays of produce, flowers, plants and buckets of oranges. Albert's second son Richard completed his double degree in accounting and joined the business in a full time capacity, and at that time Mt Eliza Village Fruits employed a staff of fifteen.

Change was on the horizon again as Steve grew older and wanted another challenge, so it was decided that he would learn the ropes from Albert to go and do all the fresh produce purchasing at Melbourne Markets. Richard took charge of the daily shop duties, Marisa commenced fulltime as secretary and bookkeeper, and Albert and Maria took a step back to enjoy some well earned holidays and time off.
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The business was a success and the next stage of growth would come with the introduction of Palamara Produce as the wholesale part of the business supplying local cafe's, restaurants, schools, nursing homes, supermarkets and other fruit shops.

As opportunities of growth kept arising, the one that cemented Mt Eliza Village Fruits as a pillar of the community was the move into the store we currently operate from. Steve and Richard started with an empty store and built much of the shelving.
But a lot has changed in this shop since the move, the full shop renovation that was completed at the end of 2011 and of course the shop is busier, additional product lines have been added to compliment the fresh produce, a juice bar was erected in the shop, the only Juice Bar in Mt Eliza, and the business now employs 30 staff members.

Steve is now managing the business. Richard has moved on to pursue a career he had dreamt about for a long time, Marisa is still the secretary on a part time basis and Joe (Marisa's husband) has joined the business to help manage the shop. Albert still works four mornings a week and has not lost his passion for the industry, and you will still see Maria shopping in the Village and excited to say hello to the same people she has seen for 18 years in Mt Eliza!

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