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Her Say: Issue of the Week

Beatrice Smith and Hayley O'Neill

In this weekly street series we pick a hot topic of the week and ask for your thoughts…

Coles have recently proposed to acquire all Canberra Supabarn supermarkets, with the exception of Kingston. The Australian Competition and Consumers Commission have responded by organising a public forum on the acquisition which will take place at QT Canberra on August 3 at 6pm.

There has been much public debate recently about the monopoly held over the majority of Australian supermarkets by industry giants Coles and Woolworths and, to a lesser extent, German chain ALDI.

Independent grocers around Canberra have expressed dismay at Coles’ proposal. “It is always sad when an independent sells to a major organisation with an open-ended chequebook,”* Manual Xyrakis, whose family has owned and operated Ainslie IGA for 52 years, told the Canberra Times earlier this week.

Many Canberran’s shopping is determined by ease of location and many suburbs feel they don’t have a choice when deciding between locally owned businesses or larger corporations. We took to the streets to ask Canberra women:

“Where do you shop and is your choice influenced by your views on locally owned supermarkets vs larger corporations such as Coles and Woolworths?”


“If I’m doing a big shop I go to Coles, that’s 15 minutes walk away. If I’m doing an on-the-spot-I-need-something I’ll [go to] my local which is an IGA because Canberra’s lost it’s schools and if it loses it’s [local] shopping centres it’s going to become a very boring place. It’s kind of the last bastion of local-ness.” Sandy, Cook.


“I tend to shop all over, if I’m doing a really big shop I tend to go to Woolworths because I can get discounts but usually if I’m looking for fresh produce I tend to go to Supabarn or the green grocers.” Rachelle, Braddon.



“I basically try to go where I can get everything so I usually go to Woolworths or Coles because I live near Woden [Plaza]. If I had [more] time I would prefer to go to the Fyshwick Markets but I’d still have to go to a supermarket anyway. I’ve got little kids so whatever’s easiest” Emma, Chifley.

“Usually with fresh produce we go to the markets and other than that we go to Coles, whatever’s closer to us, or the IGA which is [near] where we live.” Jacqueline, Karabah. 


“I do most of my shopping at Woolworths because it’s cheap and convenient…in Bonner there’s a Woolworth’s that’s really easy to get in and out of quickly. I do also go to the Farmer’s Markets when I can, which I love. I would prefer to shop there every week but it’s really hard to do with kids. I would prefer to buy more local produce and give everyone a fair chance. I don’t like the market share that the [big organisations have] but it’s really difficult when you’re working full-time and have children you sometimes just go the easy option” April, Forde.

You can read more about this on HerCanberra in Nutritionist Kate Freeman’s article: Eight Ways to Stick it to the Supermarket Man.

Photography by Hayley O’Neill. Interviews by Beatrice Smith. Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author


Hayley O'Neill

Hayley O’Neill is a Canberra based fashion stylist and fashion editor for HerCanberra. Hayley works as a freelance stylist at Westfield Belconnen and Woden and began her career styling for The Work Diaries blog. Hayley has lots of experience dressing real people with every size, age, budget and body shape. More about the Author

  • Nik

    It might be sad for people to see Coles take over Supabarn but the family who built Supabarn deserve to get a good price for all of the hard work they have put into building the business. If they want out, then it is awful for the community to prevent them from selling their business at the best price when there is probably no other buyer.
    Meanwhile I shop at IGA, Coles and Fyshwick markets various reasons for shopping at each (convenience, cheap prices and fresh food, respectively).

    • Sally Allen

      And while everyone is “sad” about supabarn, everyone asked for this article doesn’t shop there.

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