Denman Prospect IGA owner Steve Smith on supermarkets and hosting his own footy podcast.
Image: Steve Smith from IGA + Liquor Denman Prospect
While most Denman Prospect residents are winding down on a Friday night with a glass of red and those stunning views, there’s one man who has two junior footy teams to attend to – and they’re 400km away.
IGA owner Steve Smith – the tall, outgoing presence greeting shoppers at the door to the brand new supermarket – is a father of four, with wife Joanna and the kids based in Dubbo, NSW.
On Friday nights Steve coaches 11-year-old son Cooper’s AFL team, the U12 Dubbo Demons, as well as the U14 team.
“It’s a long drive but at the other end are the five people who mean the world to me,” Steve says.
“I miss them very very much during the week. But I’m also lucky. I see the kids on weekends when they’re well behaved and just happy to be hanging out with dad.”
Image: Steve’s wife Joanna, centre, with children Cooper, 11, Elodie, 6, Mikayla, 10, and Tahlia, 8.
On Sunday nights Steve drives back down the Mitchell Highway from Dubbo to Yass, to check on his other supermarket – the Supa IGA at Irvine Square.
But from Monday afternoon to Friday his week is all about Denman Prospect, a community he’s new to but is “absolutely loving”.
“It’s everything – the people, the views and just being able to stare out at nature,” Steve says.
“But there’s also a real excitement that we’re all out here building a beautiful suburb from scratch.
“When everything is brand new, you get this special opportunity to design it just the way you like it. And that includes my IGA.”
While he’s clocking up close to 2500km every week, it’s important research time for the other great love of his life: hosting an AFL podcast with mate Jason Anderson.
Steve and Ando’s Footy Show airs on 100.3 Yass FM on Wednesday nights from 6.30pm and is also available as a podcast on iTunes.
Steve uses his driving time to brush up on hosting skills; listening to inspirational broadcasters and AFL experts like Gerard Whateley and Paul Roos.
To say the 39-year-old IGA owner is AFL mad “is a gross understatement”.
“The radio show’s a bit of fun and I reckon we’re pretty good at the banter – the podcast gets a few hundred downloads each week,” Steve laughs.
“I’m a Sydney boy so I’m naturally a Swans fan. I’d talk about the Swannies the whole time if I could.”
During high school, a teenage Steve scored a position stacking shelves at Coles Turramurra, his home town on Sydney’s northern beaches.
He was a natural supermarket leader: entrepreneurial, great with people and business savvy. Steve worked his way up to management level at Coles over a decade, and then moved to rival Woolworths, opening the brand new Dubbo Woolies in 2012.
“That’s why the whole family moved to country NSW and we honestly love it,” he explains.
Image: IGA + Liquor Denman Prospect
Steve purchased the Yass IGA in 2014 and opened the Denman Prospect supermarket just eight weeks ago.
“At Denman we have a huge fresh offering – it’s 50 per cent of our stock – and we’re working with almost 30 local suppliers,” he says.
“We partnered with Pie Face and The Cheesecake Shop – brands we know Canberrans love – to bring them in-house, and we bake all our bread on-site.”
But does the Denman Prospect IGA have the same incredible meat offering Steve’s Yass store is famous for?
“You’ll just have to come in and see,” Steve says.
IGA + Liquor Denman Prospect is open 7 days, 6am-9pm.
Denman Village Shops, 3 Felstead Vista, Denman Prospect.