LOTS FOR SALE: Wally's Produce's Corey Lyster holds a box of fresh bananas, at the business which has changed hands.
LOTS FOR SALE: Wally's Produce's Corey Lyster holds a box of fresh bananas, at the business which has changed hands. Paul Braven GLA060217WALLYS

CQ Produce giant takes over much-loved Gladstone business

WALLY'S Produce in Gladstone has been supplying the region with fresh produce for more than 30 years.

But after toiling away for years, Wally and Carolyn Ingram decided to take things a bit more slowly and sold their business last month.

Without skipping a beat, one of the biggest handlers of local produce in central Queensland, Beemart Enterprise, seized on the opportunity to buy Wally's Produce.

Beemart started out of the back of a truck in Bundaberg in the 1950s, and for the first time will service businesses in the Gladstone region directly.

The new manager, Corey Lyster, said he would stick with the same name for the business and hoped to build on the hard work, started by Mr and Mrs Ingram all those years ago.

"We're definitely happy with what Wally and Carolyn left us and we plan on building on (their legacy),” Mr Lyster said.

"They've done a lot of work over the years and deserve the break.”

Mr Lyster, who will run Wally's Produce with his fiancé Bree Beeston and six other staff members, said after starting out "bagging up potatoes” for Beemart in Bundaberg four years ago, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a crack at managing the new store in Gladstone.

"It's been a bit quiet but that's what you'd expect at this time of year,” he said.

"With the heatwave in Victoria it has been tough to get leafy stuff but once the heat goes the quality will go up and the prices will come down.

"We will be focusing on our (80) wholesale customers but we are open to the public if they call up and put in an order.”

Mr Lyster said Beemart was the "biggest handler” of local produce in the central Queensland and Wide Bay regions.

"We're also the biggest ripeners of North Queensland bananas outside of the Brisbane market, with 40 tonnes of bananas being sold from Hervey Bay to Rockhampton in a week,” he said.

"Local farms in Bundaberg are doing a lot of planting at the moment and as of April it'll be in full swing and we'll have all of that produce up here.

"We've also got our Facebook page (Wally's Produce) where we'll post about our super Saturdays where there will be plenty of nice and cheap produce for locals to come down and buy.”

Although Mr Lyster said the Bundaberg market was substantially bigger than Gladstone, he said the dominance of the big supermarkets made it harder to have a bigger reach.

"We supply a lot of the people around town like the Coffee Club, takeaway shops, Spar stores and most of the pubs,” he said.

You can find Wally's Produce at the corner of Gibson and Beckinsale Sts. Phone 4972 8222.



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