Saturday 7th February 2009, Ritchies were conducting their official launch
of their Yarra Glen Supermarket. Fred Harrison, CEO and Malcolm Cameron,
Director, Ritchies Stores were on hand at Yarra Glen and, as the tragic
events unfolded, they were very much involved with the bushfire evacuation
which took place in the Yarra Glen/Kinglake region.
Ritchies threw open their new Supermarket for use as a safety house and
throughout the course of the evening over 500 people and pets took refuge.
Lining the aisles were the sick, the old and the very young including a five
week old. Fred Harrison was directing his staff and no expense was spared
in providing the essentials to those gathered. Bottled water, soft drinks,
food and anything required was handed out freely. Fire fighters and police
headed there for respite from the horrific conditions. Fred accommodated
everyone, making announcements over the public address system and answering
everyone’s questions. His quick thinking and obvious leadership skills
helped countless people.
Through their Community Benefit card program, Ritchies have donated $100,000
to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal with customers and staff raising an
additional $90,000 in the months of February and March. This contribution
will continue to grow in the months ahead as many new and existing Community
Benefit card holders have elected the Bushfire Appeal as their charity.
Ritchies Community Benefit Card Program donates a percentage of the money
spent by customers to their nominated club, school or charity. Ritchies
have been at the forefront in establishing this incredible program and as a
result, many hundreds of thousands of lives have been improved.