When starting or growing a business, good research can come in very handy.

Pierce Cody comes from a family entrenched in the history of Melbourne business and they have owned everything from grocery stores to gold mines, but he does not have time for succession plans and neither did his father.

The family hailed from Kilkenny, Ireland — farming and pub-owning Catholics, to be sure, to be sure.

Cody stayed true to his roots, and with an entrenched sense of owning a successful business, he turned the stand-alone Bondi Junction Macro Wholefoods organic grocery into a highly successful chain with nine stores around Sydney and Melbourne.

Budding entrepreneur

Showing a radical inclination, Cody went from university into advertising, working with the likes of Clemenger Harvey, but while he was not flogging grog or digging for gold, the entrepreneurial family roots rose to the surface with his first significant venture.

“In my time in advertising I could see that the outdoor industry was immature and was an opportunity for me,” he says.

Starting ‘Cody’ in 1993 he went from zero sites to be the biggest operator of outdoor advertising within three years and by 1997, Cody was also operating in Hong Kong.

“In 2001, I sold out to Tony O’Reilly’s APN and ran APN Outdoor, but it didn’t work going from entrepreneur to executive” he admits.

Without a business, Cody concedes he didn’t enjoy swanning about.

Organic interest

Then like many other entrepreneurs who come up with a good idea he went overseas and was knocked out by an emerging trend.

“I had seen in the UK and the USA the emergence of organic retailing,” he reveals “I was blown away by how professional it was.”

Coming home he did a lot of research and found that no one was doing it significantly or as well as overseas. Looking closely at the likes of Fresh & Wild in the UK, he devised an Australian concept, which he thought would cut the mustard.

His research told him that the Bondi Junction store in Sydney – Macro Wholefoods – was an iconic and successful store and would make a great starting point.

“I bought the business with my friend Brett Blundy,” he says. “It was a fantastic opportunity.”

The vision was for a chain of organic supermarkets that look and feel like very professional supermarkets with the emphasis on top quality organic produce.

“It doesn’t have to only appeal to hippy-types,” Cody says. “Australians are becoming increasingly interested in this sort of product.”

Achieving goals

Cody highlights the benefits of having a business partnership, a growth strategy he sees as crucial to creating a better and more stable operating platform.

“We are constantly in development with other retailers, and we work with producer groups and the government as they provide research funding and industry regulation. We are generating as well riding as riding the sea change.”

Cody lives and breathes the Macro way of life, spending time working on, not in the business. “I go on annual trips to America and Northern Europe to ensure that Macro is always across the latest retailing trends coming out of the Northern Hemisphere.”

Achieving his business goals has been a natural transgression for this savvy entrepreneur, and the niche organic market in Australia is continuing to prosper.

A primary marketing ploy has been to increase the awareness of the organic movement to the sceptics, with strategies aimed intimately at the consumer – such as online direct mail campaigns and product sampling.

When asked why more and more Australians are embracing the organic lifestyle, he says: “There’s a growing knowledge and hatred of battery chickens, an overall increase in allergies and a sense that doing the right thing by the environment is becoming a compulsory requirement in people’s in lives.”

Business sense

With plans for future international expansion, Cody says the current marketing strategy explores the brand extensions that the market space allows.

“For example, we have massively increased our sales of grey water friendly cleaning products as a result of water restrictions on the eastern seaboard. We have actively promoted these products and it has paid off.”

Cody’s innate business sense has steered the company well. “We are constantly looking at what customers are buying and closely tracking customer feedback from our stores and the website. We also work very closely with the buyers to nurture them along our aggressive growth paths.”

For inspiration to fulfil your dreams and to build an innovative business, read Savvy – Understanding The Entrepreneur

If you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.