UD Trucks keeps local produce running for WA retail empire, Spudshed

Tony Gelati - the WA Spud King

Managing a chain of 17 supermarkets and harvesting and delivering fresh, locally grown produce to a whole city is no easy feat. But for Spudshed owner, Tony Galati and his family, it has been a journey of passion, dedication and growth spanning more than 4 decades.

Tony Galati and his brothers Vince and Sam, grew up helping their Sicilian parents run a two-hectare market garden that was established in Spearwood in the 1960s. What started as a simple farmer’s market saw the official opening of Spudshed in 1998, and the business has since bolstered itself into the multimillion-dollar operation that it is today, offering a large range of quality produce with a full meat, dairy and grocery offer.

With farms spanning all the way from Manjimup up to Kununurra, and more than 1100 Spudshed employees to see through business operations, the Galati family business has become a key identity in Perth. From the beginning, the business philosophy for Spudshed was simple in bringing down the cost of weekly shopping and making healthy fresh produce affordable for the people of Perth – and decades on this mission remains the same.

Tony Galati spoke to PR and Media Relations Manager, Matt Wood, on his Lap of the Map travels through WA, stopping in at the Spudshed Canning Vale depot to hear about the company’s operations and their experience operating UD Trucks. Galati explained just how drastically the business has grown over the years and how reliable and efficient transport is crucial to getting food delivered to their stores consistently and on time.

“This operation out here in Canning Vale, we move about 400 – 500 pallets every day. You’ve got to be really quick when produce comes in and we load these trucks every morning,” said Galati.

“You don’t realise how much is involved in getting produce to a retail store or to the markets – and if you don’t have the reliability of your trucks, you’re in trouble.”

Galati explained that this reliability was one of the main factors that steered them towards UD Trucks after researching the products. With Spudshed’s trucks typically travelling between 600 – 700 kilometres a day, and between 1000 – 1200 kilometres during the busier season, this reliability remains a must. And with impressive horsepower and torque, UD Trucks were a perfect match for the tonnage that Spudshed cart on a daily basis.

“We bought one truck and then another one and now we’ve got 17 UDs at this stage and we’re looking at buying a few more. They’re great on fuel efficiency and for the horsepower they’ve got and for the tonnage we cart, they’re really good. Probably the best in the market that I’ve seen.”

It was a bonus for Galati that the drivers enjoy driving the UD Trucks daily. “The air-conditioning, the driving, the way they steer, the way they handle the road – they’re really happy with the trucks. I tell some of my drivers that they should be paying me for driving these trucks,” Galati laughed.

Galati also detailed the operations of Spudshed and the horticultural side of the business.

“We’ve got our own nursery and we propagate all our own seedlings. We virtually plant them from the seed, then 6 – 7 weeks after being in the nursery, we put them out in the fields and grow them out over 10 – 12 weeks. We then pick them, then we bring them to our packhouses. They then go out as an export, to markets, chain stores or Spudshed.”

Speaking on the challenges around operating a business like Spudshed, Galati, said that there’s a lot of challenges as people would understand, and a lot of influences that are implied on their product, but that the success of Spudshed is dependent on a series of factors.

“For us, success in the business is what you put into it. You’ve got to nurture your business, you’ve got to live in it. I’ve been in the game since I was a young kid and grew up on it. And my kids did the same thing. They grew up in it, they were born into it. It’s a family business and we do it to the best of our ability.”

Tony Galati is the eldest son of Sicilian migrants Francessco and Maria Galati. Today, Tony together with his brothers Vince and Sam, supported by their sons, oversee Spudshed’s day-to-day operations on the various farms and stores.

When asked about the UD Trucks Lap of the Map Galati said, “I reckon it’s a good idea. A lot of people don’t see the UDs unless they drive them. So, it’s good for people to see the product and to promote it out there.”

“You’ve got a good product and you’ve got to show the guys in transport what you’ve got. I’m pretty fussy with my trucks and because I’m an owner operator I look at the efficiency, and with UD it’s swung me around.”

Reflecting on Tony Galati’s sentiments, Vice President of UD Trucks Australia, Lauren Pulitano described Spudshed’s growth as incredible and said that UD is very grateful to have its trucks facilitating Spudshed’s transport operations in recent years.

“Scaling Spudshed to what it is today is an immense achievement and it is so inspiring to see an independent family-owned business build a retail empire that allows the everyday people of Perth to source quality, healthy and fresh produce at affordable prices. The Galati family have owned and experienced their fair share of trucks in the 40 plus years they’ve been in business, so it is extremely humbling to hear how reliable, efficient, powerful and comfortable UD Trucks have been for Tony and his drivers,” said Pulitano.

“Going the Extra Mile is our brand promise and to see our trucks consistently performing for customers like Spudshed, that is our goal. It was so wonderful hearing Spudshed’s story during the UD Trucks Lap of the Map and we thank Tony, the Galati family and the Spudshed team for continuing to put their trust in UD Trucks.”