Well over six months late, but worth the wait, Ritchies Stores celebrated its 150th birthday with a magnificent Gala Ball at the Crown Palladium, Melbourne on 15 May.
Introduced by host Shane Jacobsen, Fred Harrison, Mal Cameron and James Cameron, Ritchies Directors welcomed special guests including The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp and The Hon. Edward O’Donohue MP. Together with their partners, members of the Ritchies team, suppliers, business partners and industry peers, joined the celebrations for Ritchies’ prestigious ‘night of nights’.
During the course of the evening the audience was treated to a journey on the early years of Ritchies with a presentation from ‘Thomas Ritchie’ himself, played by Matt Keating. Matt’s performance of Thomas’s trials and tribulations was “a fitting tribute to the long legacy created by this Australian business legend.”
Thomas’s story was described by Mr Harrison as the motivation to serve the community with grit, purpose and passion that has continued through to the current day. Employing the same courage, determination and innovation as Thomas Ritchie encountered, the business continues to strive to grow and prosper, with the aim to be recognised as “the friendliest team in the supermarket and liquor industry”.
There was an abundance of ‘thank you’ messages from charitable organisations such as Guide Dogs Australia, The Breast Cancer Network Australia, Love your Sister and The Salvation Army, all major beneficiaries of the Ritchies Community Benefit Card program, recently relaunched as the Ritchies Loyalty App. “With over $51 million dollars donated, Ritchies leads the industry in consistent local community support and funding.”
IGA International Chairman Mark Batenic offered his congratulations via video link. Mr Batenic’s admiration for the Ritchies team and their dedication to the independent supermarket industry was evident in his description of their personal and professional friendship that had developed over the years and Ritchies achievements in the trade.
Guests were treated to a fanfare of entertainment including an opera performance by Pot Pourri and a jaw-dropping set from master of magic and illusion Consentino. The night was then well rounded to a conclusion with live music from Aussie rock legend Adam Thompson and his band Chocolate Starfish.
Ritchies delivered an extraordinary evening of celebration, fun and excitement, whilst honouring their long history and the team that will continue the Thomas Ritchie legacy into the future.