John Kapiris attempts to promote his business in competition with international supermarket heavyweight Aldi in a series of viral Instagram videos (Image Source: St Bernards’ Fruit and Veg Market Facebook Page)
By Viki Ntafillis | @viki_ntaf
St Bernard’s Fruit and Veg Market has shot to stardom for its side-splitting yet vengeful posts on Instagram against German supermarket chain Aldi.
Their fight against Aldi is the main feature of their page; its posts starring store owner John Kapiris.
One post even involved Mr Kapiris visiting Aldi on Gorge Road to cut their bananas in half; he had also shaved half his head and beard to drive his point home for viewers.
“St Bernard’s is going to be half their price,” Mr Kapiris said in the video posted in June.
The clip was then captioned, “After all the exposure I give Aldi, and I still had to pay for the bananas, that’s crap. Thanks for nothing Aldi!”.
St Bernard’s page, however, really took off when fellow local on Instagram, Shit Adelaide, featured one of their posts.
Mr Kapiris said Shit Adelaide “helped the business 100 per cent”.
“Before that, we were just plodding along, and all of a sudden it went ‘bang’. We got 10 thousand followers overnight,” Mr Kapiris said.
Before Shit Adelaide’s help, the fruit store’s page had around 1200 followers; now, it has over 12,000.
Kapiris said the community has also supported them greatly in store.
“We’ve probably had a 20 per cent increase of business,” he said.
“Things will die off and I reckon it’ll be about a 10-15 per cent increase.”
While St Bernard’s page may seem like a barrel of laughs, it possesses a far more serious sentiment.
After Aldi opened at Colonnades, Mr Kapiris closed his Colonnades store, and said sales at his Firle store were also affected after Aldi opened on Magill Road.
He said it’s lucky his Rostrevor store is not in a shopping complex.
“It may have made my business a little bit stronger…because Aldi can’t compare their fruit and veg with mine…[nor their] quality [or] customer service,” Mr Kapiris said.
Mr Kapiris declined to comment on exactly how much money he had lost since Aldi opened its South Australian stores.
Mr Kaparis said he has “nothing against Aldi coming in”, but thinks five Aldi stores in Adelaide is quite enough, compared to the 39 currently open or under development.
He urged the government to support and prioritise homegrown South Australian businesses.
“I make my money in Australia, I feed my family in Australia, I send my kids to school in Australia—the money stays here,” Mr Kaparis said.
“Aldi doesn’t keep its money in Australia.”
Regarding the opening of overseas businesses in Australia, Mr Kapiris said “the government is the only one calling the shots here. It shouldn’t just be the government”.
“There needs to be [a] body controlling it, [like a] retailing body or agency,” he said.
“Before anyone [comes] in, we need to see where all the retailers are and say, ‘hang on, these guys are struggling already, why are we going to make them struggle more?’”
To keep shoppers from switching to Aldi, Mr Kapiris said he offered “top quality…and full support of Australian industry in produce, including dairy”.
He also said “customer service is number one” in his business.
Mitcham, Stirling and Aldinga locals have said the government’s objection process prevented locals from having their say against Aldi.
“Mitcham residents were given only 10 days to submit objections against the planned construction,” the report said.
Over 150 complaint letters were written by Blackwood residents, “but their objections… [were] inadmissible to the state planning commission”.
Complaints were also said to be inadmissible “if residents lived more than 60 metres from the site”.
Aldi declined to comment.