CSGC Profile: Tugun’s Blooming

Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014

Gone are the days of the sleepy Tugun Village. With a host of new shops getting shiny fit-outs ready for summer trade – some of the old names are also reinventing themselves, including third generation family business, Tugun Fruit and Flowers.

Run by father and daughter team, Katie and Garry “Radar” O’Reilly, the business was originally owned by the Blenkins family – then known as the Tugun Fruit Fly after owner Fly Blenkins. Since changing hands to the O’Reilly family in 1975, the shop took on its new name, and new offering, as Tugun Fruit and Flowers.

And it’s the flowers that’s got everybody talking. Seeing the potential in the market for simple, fresh cut flowers, Radar began buying flowers at the Brisbane Flower Auctions 22 years ago. In keeping with the times, and keeping up with demand, he’s now moved to online auctions – purchasing the night before and having the farm fresh flowers delivered the next morning.   

Customers come from as far away as Runaway Bay to get their floral fix. It was only a matter of time before expansion was on the cards for the well-known shop on the corner.  

The store has undergone major renovations, adding a new juice and smoothie bar at the front to tempt the passing trade. Opening weekend was timed with the first weekend of the Swell Sculpture Festival, and Katie says the juice trade was booming. “We sold over 100 juices on our first weekend,” she said. “The demand is here because there are no real standalone juice bars – the closest ones are in Burleigh or Coolangatta. More people are turning to juice, rather than having a coffee.”

And the coming of summer is sure to keep them busy. “Flowers are the big ticket item, and since opening the juice bar, we’ve found the juices are really complementing the flowers. People love to buy both.” 

Of course, there’s also the fruit – tree-ripened, first-of-season mangoes have started to arrive, while papaya and sweet pineapples are in stock for what is set to be a great summer for the fruit trade.

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