One of the unpronounceable buzz words struggling past peoples lips over the last 4 years has been Choku Bai Jo. Choku Bai Jo means ‘Direct Selling Place’ in Japanese, and that is exactly what the Pentony Family sought to – and have achieved – since the first store opened in North Lyneham in February 2008. Their history does not begin there however as the family was integral to the conception of both Canberra Farmers Markets. As the family also own Gleann na Meala an ACO Certified Organic farm near the Village of Hall, they were always on the lookout for better ways of marketing and delivering their fresh produce directly to the community. Three years after opening the Lyneham Store, the Southside communities pleas were answered and the second outlet was opened in Curtin.
Choku Bai Jo works because it is something different from the other retailers. The charming yet rustic décor assists in highlighting the quality of the local produce which is delivered to each outlet through the week from the region’s best growers. Fresh organic produce is picked every day for the shop from Gleann na Meala providing the consumer the opportunity to buy and eat produce the day it was picked. Choku Bai Jo gets apples throughout the year from the Davidsons at Hillside orchard in Borenore NSW, Citrus from the Auddinos in Leeton, Stone fruit ffrom Laurie Xerri at Young, Heavy veg from The Vassellos at Mowbray Park and much more from other local growers and producers.
In addition to some of the regions larger producers it is common during fig season to see locally grown fruit from the backyards of customers on the shelves. This adds to the community feel of the stores and allows the shoppers to feel part of the growing Choku Bai Jo movement.
Another talking point is the hours the stores are open, 2pm to 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. The 2pm start during the week allows the fresh produce to be picked in the morning. It also allows parents to stop in on their way to, or returning from the daily school run. Added with the late closing of 7pm, Choku Bai Jo allows others to stop in after a long day at work; helping to minimise car trips and stressful shopping experiences.