Alfred E Chave was born from humble beginnings and has developed a passion for produce built over a century.
It’s very possible that at the beginning of the 1900’s, as Alfred Edward Chave opened his fruit stall in the busy Roma Street markets, he might have dreamt that his modest business would still be operating more than a hundred years later. But he must never have imagined how successful it would become. Yes, the humble little produce stall still bears his name, but it now trades as one of the leading fruit and vegetable wholesaling companies in Australia, serving clients throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Alfred E Chave was born from humble beginnings and has developed a passion for produce built over a century. Like all humble beginnings, it takes a lot of hard work to create success. And day after day, year after year, Alfred dedicated himself to building his fruit and vegetable business. Over the course of several decades, as many other companies struggled to overcome the challenges imposed by two World Wars and the Great Depression, thanks to his passion, hard work and determination, Alfred’s fruit and vegetable company grew and became one of the largest and most respected vendors in the markets.
The younger Chave
His son, Alfred Cecil Chave, joined the family business upon leaving school. Young Alf was a talented sportsman. He first represented Queensland at tennis in the Linton Cup as a 19 year old in 1924 and would remain one of Queensland’s top ranked tennis players even in the 1940’s.
In the 1930’s, the heir to the Chave business developed a career in sports journalism and tennis commentary. As a leading tennis commentator for the ABC and Britain’s BBC, he would later become established in Australian tennis folklore as the “voice of tennis” in much the same way that Alan McGilvray became known as the “voice of cricket”. During World War II, the younger Chave enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and served as an intelligence officer with No. 25 squadron in Western Australia and at headquarters in Brisbane. He excelled in his role and was promoted to flight lieutenant.
Following the war, Alf returned to the markets and became involved once more in the family business, eventually taking it over and managing it as owner. Having inherited his father’s passion for fresh produce, and more than a little of his business acumen, Alf worked hard to grow the company for over twenty years whilst still maintaining his commitments as a prominent tennis administrator.
A family who shared their passion
After Alf Chave’s sudden and unexpected death in 1971, the day before his 66th birthday, his wife Patricia continued to run the company in his absence.
For a couple of years, she tried to hold the business together but the company deteriorated despite her best efforts. Eventually, she decided to sell Alfred E Chave to Allstate Foods who then amalgamated the company with one of their divisions, W.E. Potter, to form Potter-Chave Pty Ltd. Peter, Reg and Mick Joseph, the owners of Allstate, appointed Peter’s son Tony Joseph as manager. And together they spent the next two years rebuilding the Chave business.
In 1975, Tony married Maree, the daughter of Simon and Nell George. Tony and his father-in-law decided to go into business together and so they bought Potter-Chave from Allstate Foods. Out of respect for the Chave family’s contribution to the industry, and because of the great reputation the Alfred E Chave name had built over the years, Tony elected to restore the original name to the company – a move he has never regretted.
For the next 19 years, Tony and Simon would work tirelessly to build and broaden the Alfred E Chave customer and grower base. To this day, that work ethic has been the foundation of the success of the business and, as a result, the Alfred E Chave name has become synonymous with fresh produce throughout Australia and New Zealand. They also expanded the company’s operations to create a very strong export business serving a range of clients throughout the Pacific. This part of the business has grown to the point where Alfred E Chave is now making inroads into parts of the Asian market as well. Most importantly, they continued to build very close relationships with their customers and their growers, some of whom are still working with the Joseph family more than 40 years after Tony started in the markets.
When Simon George retired from Alfred E Chave in 1994, the Joseph family was entrusted with owning and running the entire operation. In reality, it couldn’t have been placed in better hands! Thanks to the Josephs’ drive, expertise and passion for fresh produce, they’ve continued to build the company and grow its operations ever since.
Today, Alfred E Chave continues to trade as one of the leading fruit and vegetable supply chain companies in Australia. And with Tony’s son’s Anthony and Paul running the company, we can be confident of their success for many years to come.