Named Dubbo’s Most Outstanding Business at the 2008 Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Rhino Awards, Midwest Foods continues to proudly hold its own in an era that has seen consolidation dominate the foodservice industry.

Whilst it won the Gold Rhino seven years ago, the ‘100 per cent’ locally owned food wholesaler that services approximately 25 per cent of the State is still very much one of the City’s business success stories.

Co-owners Damien Mahon and Toni Alderdice have owned Midwest Foods since 1992 and today employ 40-plus staff.

Part of the Countrywide National network, the wholesale distributors operate from their Douglas Mawson Road warehouse, providing food products to ‘anywhere there’s a meal prepared outside the home’ (like cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs, schools, hospitals and jails), and they are the exclusive Streets Ice Cream distributor for western NSW.

Midwest also sells a range of fresh, frozen and general grocery items at its popular warehouse retail store, along with packaging and cleaning products.

Mr Mahon attributes the success of the business to ‘a lot of hard work’, good strategic planning, a dedicated team, a reliable economy and their philosophy: always put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

“Dubbo is a steady, reliable place to do business,’’ he said.

“But the City has been through its trials and tribulations over the years. We are still very much operating in a rural-based economy and sometimes the weather can be our biggest enemy.

“However overall, Dubbo has a very stable economy. Whilst we don’t get the big peaks that some of the other regions do, we don’t get the big troughs either.

“The focus in recent years our civic leaders and other bodies - such as the Chamber of Commerce and Regional Development Australia - on improved infrastructure, business development and fostering growth opportunities gives us great confidence in the region for the future.’’

As consolidation reduces the amount of wholesaling firms in the industry, Midwest Foods proudly remains locally owned and operated.

“We have sold our products direct to the public for nearly 20 years via our wholesale outlet, and we are visible around town due to our involvement in a wide variety of community events,’’ Mr Mahon said.

“Even to people outside the foodservice market, we have built a strong brand and image that puts us in the top of consumers’ minds.’’

Having already won several Silver Rhinos in the lead-up to the 2008 Gold Rhino win, Mr Mahon said at the time, winning Gold ‘was great recognition for our staff.’

“Achieving a Gold Rhino was a long-term goal for us, it was part of our business plan. And we were able to tick that off,’’ he said.

“I think Dubbo Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual awards provide much-needed recognition for the business community.

“The Gold Rhino is usually presented to someone who has worked hard for many years. It seems to go to a lot of quite achievers and Midwest Foods is very proud to be part of that mix.’’

If Mr Mahon could pass on one piece of advice to anyone considering buying into a business in Dubbo, it would be “you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.’’

“I’ve got a saying that a good idea doesn’t care who owns it, you just have to do it better,’’ he said.

Mr Mahon said he loves being in business, with Midwest Foods also winning four national industry awards, including Countrywide’s coveted Regional Distributor of the Year.

“Toni and I enjoy all aspects of running an award-winning business, especially the feeling of watching the fruits of our labour develop and grow year to year,’’ he said. “I particularly enjoy the strategic planning side of our business; we are very deliberate in the way that we do things here at Midwest Foods.’’

Mr Mahon said the best piece of advice that he’s ever received was “don’t die wondering.’’

“I’ve applied that to all aspects of my life. And if I’ve learnt anything at all throughout all the years I’ve been in business: ‘it’s hard to go forward if you spend too much time looking backwards’,” he said.

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