Flannerys health food chain falls into administration
THE business behind the Gold Coast-founded Flannerys health food stores has fallen into administration, casting doubt over the future of the chain's 15 outlets.
Mal and Berice Flannery established Mrs Flannery's - now known as Flannerys Organic & Whole Market - in 1973 and grew it into a multimillion-dollar franchise business before selling out 11 years ago.
This morning a notice was filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission announcing Timothy Cook, of Balance Insolvency, had been appointed administrator to The Natural Grocery Company Pty Ltd.
The company was registered in 2015 as a retailer and franchisor of natural organic groceries and had revenue of $66 million in FY18 and more than 500 employees. Its other brands apart from Flannerys included Kunara, Mrs. Watsons and Fundies.
That year it fell to a $440,000 after-tax loss and auditors for FY18 cast doubt on its financial viability due to debt of $24.97 million.
Flannerys has a network of stores along the East Coast with locations in Robina, Miami, Benowa and Paradise Point on the Gold Coast as well as other Queensland stores in Toowoomba, Victoria Point, Maroochydore, Wynnum, Taringa, Loganholme and Chermside.
It has four stores in Sydney.
The Flannerys came to the Gold Coast from Victoria in 1970 with four children.
They opened their first health-food shop in Tweed Mall in 1973 after seeing health-food shops while on holiday in London after selling the caravan park.
The company opened stores across the Gold Coast and in Brisbane before moving to a franchise model under the leadership of the Flannerys' youngest daughter, Genevieve, and her husband, Martin Meek.
Ms Meek told the Bulletin the family had sold the business when it was in "fantastic shape" to Tino van Nieuwburg who had sold it on to Natural Grocery Company.
She said the new owner had decided to buy back the stores from the franchisees, a decision she called a mistake.
"We moved to a franchise model because it was hard to find store managers who were as passionate about organic food as we were and it worked great," she said.
Ms Meek said she hopes the business can trade its way out of problems and repay its suppliers, which includes her husband who runs United Organics.
"We are really, really concerned for all the suppliers. They have been burnt before."
The directors of Sydney-based The Natural Grocery Company Pty Ltd are Sydney residents Paul Wilson and Stephen Parsonage and Brisbane resident Michael Hume.