LOVING IT: Rod Neill loves his fruit, veg and betting on horses out the back of his shop, Rod’s Food Market.
LOVING IT: Rod Neill loves his fruit, veg and betting on horses out the back of his shop, Rod’s Food Market. PAUL BRAVEN

Passion for fruit and veg keeps Rod going at market

ROD NEILL has worked seven days a week for the past 23 years at his precious food market on Mellefont St.

"I should be dead," he laughed. "The only time off I've had is about 25 days when I was in hospital."

Rod's Food Market is one of the oldest businesses left in Gladstone, and Mr Neill along with it.

But he didn't start his working career in the grocer.

"My father used to say to me, you will never do any good in Gladstone. I said I would prove him wrong," he said.

"I got a job at Queensland Alumina as a trades assistant in construction and then I worked at Chandlers for 25 years.

"In my 40s I thought it was time to take up another challenge so I took over this place."

Then, it was called Cut Price Supermarket.

Mr Neill worked hard to build up the food market, and he still matches prices with Woolworths and Coles.

He says the main change over the years has been to pricing.

"I used to pay $8 for a 50kg bag of potatoes and I pay $50 for 50kg now," he said.

Now he's 66, but Mr Neill has the same passion for selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

"Fruit and veg is my baby," he said. "You should see my garden at home."

His tip for surviving as a local business? Give 100% everyday.

"You have to give the best possible service you can," he said.

"I love my business and I try to make sure people come back."

ROD'S SHOPFRONT SIGNS THAT CAUSE A STIR:

  • Marcia, you're a bi*ch
  • Slow down you boofhead
  • My joint is for sale. Do you think you are good enough?

SPEAK UP: We're profiling the pioneers of Gladstone local business. Contact us with your hero. Get in touch on 4970 3029 or laura.mckee@gladstoneobserver.com.au



FOR SALE: Home has ocean views and ten cartons of beer

FOR SALE: Home has ocean views and ten cartons of beer

Ever thought about off-grid living at Captain Creek?

Boyne Valley Rail Trail could attract 30,000 tourists a year

Boyne Valley Rail Trail could attract 30,000 tourists a year

Local communities waiting for work to start

At Bedrock restorations Barney can 'yabba dabba' do it

At Bedrock restorations Barney can 'yabba dabba' do it

Turning rusted wrecks into collectables

Local Partners