The Antico Story Part 2 'Antico reaches for the skies'
Posted on 28 April 2016
The Antico Fruit shop proved to be a major success amongst the locals and it wasn’t long before the Antico entrepreneurs found a way to expand the business further. Adjoining Mascot were the industrial suburbs of Botany, Waterloo, Alexandria and Surry Hills, steeped with factories catering for staff through their on-site canteens.
Many of the workers in these factories were loyal customers of the Mascot Fruit Shop and were aware of the consistent quality and choice. It was this dedication to providing the best that led to the successful securing of numerous food service orders to supply fruit and vegetables to these canteens when the Antico boys canvassed the area.
In the early 1950s Antico’s reputation and locality was at the forefront of the decision by what was then known as Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) to invite them to supply the domestic airline with their in-flight catering requirements. The customer list would later grow to include Ansett-ANA in-flight catering, followed closely by QANTAS Airways Limited, the latter of which secured Antico’s fresh produce for the next twenty years.
It was this very relationship with the airlines that led to the next evolution of the Antico company. Around 1956, Qantas commenced a fortnightly flight to Noumea, New Caledonia and offered Antico the opportunity to be on the inaugural flight to research whether an air cargo business could be established on future flights. With the aim of servicing local island importers, Qantas and Antico were keen to improve export cargo and product opportunities, which at that time were limited in quality and freshness since fresh produce was entering the country solely by sea.
The youngest Antico brother John, being the most recent school leaver and with three years of school-boy French, was elected to board the flight. The trip was hugely successful for the Antico business and the first of many international relationships was cemented. Local supermarkets and wholesalers in Noumea, which had been unable to secure supplies of more perishable products by sea, embraced the service and the opportunities it would bring to their businesses. Airfreight was the answer.
By 1958, Antico Providoring had outgrown its Mascot retail premises. The Antico entrepreneurs moved the business to a warehouse space in Haymarket Fruit Market in order to commence a food service/export business dedicated to servicing the growing market opportunities and trends.
to be continued...