TALK to the customer.
It sounds so basic but it's what Andrew Cochrane, owner/operator of Old Toongabbie's IGA Supermarket — this year's Parramatta's Business of the Year — sees as key to his success.
Watch the Sun's video about the winning business above.
"A lot of the customers just want to be acknowledged. 'Hi. How are you? How was your day?"' Mr Cochrane said.
The store, which he opened with wife Maree Cochrane two years ago, was also named the winner in the Outstanding Fresh Food category.
"We bought it on the 28th [of August]; the [Parramatta Local] Business Awards [ceremony] was on the 29th, so it was a nice birthday present," Mr Cochrane of Baulkham Hills said.
Asked what sets their supermarket apart from the others, he said: "Staff and consistency — delivery of range, product rotation, merchandising standards. Also, we'll endeavour to get their products in. We do free home deliveries.
"I think, too, because it's now very much a community store — before they had to drive to Winston Hills or Seven Hills — they treat it like it's 'our IGA'."
Mr Cochrane spent 26 years in the corporate sector before becoming a small business owner.
He started out as a Woolworths trainee, worked his way up to area manager, then came across to IGA as a business manager in 2004, working as the state retail operations manager before purchasing his own IGA — a derelict fruit market on Fitzwilliam Road.
A colleague, Jane Tuckwell, came across with him, but everyone else he employed was a local, found through word-of-mouth. There are 35 staff.