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Asian ProvisionsSometimes, what an established business really needs is a fresh look, preferably from someone with little knowledge about how the industry works to ask ‘why is it done that way’? If the answer comes back – ‘because that’s the way we’ve always done it’, you know you’re in trouble.


We spoke to two young people, Patricia Paraswati and Jason Ho from Asian Provisions in Phillip, about how they brought a fresh perspective to a business that had been operating for over 40 years.

 “Jason and I took over at the end of 2013, but the shop itself has been around since 1977 and in fact the first owner still comes into the shop” says Patricia.

“Before the shop, I was a full time nurse and Jason worked in a restaurant. I knew the owner and my brother was working in the shop at the time, and he told me that they were looking to sell. So, I came in and spoke to the owner just to find out a bit more. It never really crossed my mind that we would actually be running the shop.

“I knew I couldn’t do it by myself so I asked my younger brother if he knew of anyone interested in forming a business partnership. He knew Jason, having worked together at the restaurant, and so he introduced us.

“We had a lot of warnings from other people about partnerships, but it’s worked really well for us,” says Patricia.

Asian Provisions originally started life out of a van parked at the Farmers Market and the original owner would sell directly to customers. As demand increased a shopfront was needed and the shop found a new home in Phillip.

After Patricia and Jason took over they brought a new perspective to the businesses.

“We have done a lot in terms of signage; the sign out the front wasn’t there before,” says Patricia.

“We were the ones who had a new sign designed and we also started using Facebook and Instagram to promote the shop – before us there wasn’t any real promotion happening”.

“When we took over, there was already a pretty strong customer base in terms of those already familiar with the shop. Now I think we’ve grown our customer base using online marketing and there has definitely been more interest outside of the Asian community.

“It’s really great to see people more willing to try new things,” says Patricia.

“We took inspiration from the number of cooking shows on TV, like the recipes they use and the meals they make. Customers will ask about something they saw on TV and want to know what they need to make it.

“In the long term we are considering exploring these trends more fully and possibly setting up a website with an online store”, she adds.

Sometimes innovations are about making small changes, but they open the doors to new markets – in this case the home cooking trends inspired by the foodie travel shows.