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Universal Providers reaches 100

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Universal Providers’ service to the Maleny community. Supa IGA has organised a series of events to celebrate those hundred years of retail service.

While owners and brands have changed, the name Universal Providers has held its place on the building for as long as the supermarket has been performing its central role as a provider of goods and services to the community.   Since the Tytherleigh family first established a Universal Providers store in 1905, in one form or another a grocery retail facility has existed at number 26, Maple Street, Maleny.

Current owners Rob and Sam Outridge have continued that tradition of local service and community support for the past 10 years.  Rob and Sam have invited the community to share in the celebrations and, with the help of organisers, have put together a packed schedule aimed at moving the town forward as we reflect on the achievements of the past.  People have jumped at the opportunity to thank the Outridges, according to Mim Coulstock of Barung Landcare.


Photo Left:  Rob & Sam  Outridge.

Indeed IGA, a multi-award winning business, contributed more than $50,000 to local groups last financial year.

“As many people know Rob and Sam have been extremely generous in their support of the local community over many years,’’ she said.  “In the past two years alone, almost 60 local community groups have received financial assistance for a wide variety of projects, local landcare among them. The IGA has provided cash or in-kind support for many Barung activities including the Maleny Wood Expo, our AGM treeplants, our Landcare Week barbecues and many other smaller but equally important events.”

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Some of the awards won by Maleny Super IGA
in recent years

IGA awards 1998

Queensland Independent Supermarket Retailer of the Year.
Queensland IGA Retailer of the Year.
Queensland IGA Deli Merchandiser of the Year.
GIO Excellence in Business Award Caloundra Zone.
GIO Excellence in Business Award for Sunshine Coast Region.


IGA Australian Deli Merchandiser of the Year.
Queensland IGA Produce Merchandiser of the Year.
GIO Excellence in Business Award - Caloundra Zone.
The 1999 Pioneer Maleny Business - Awards - Overall Winner.
The 1999 Pioneer Maleny Business Awards - Excellence in Service.


IGA Queensland IGA Deli Merchandiser of the Year.
2000 Pioneer Maleny Business Awards - Mayoral Award for Professional Excellence in Retail and Service to the community.


Queensland IGA Produce Merchandiser of the Year.
IGA National Produce Merchandiser of the year.
AMP Excellence in Business Awards 2001 Sunshine Coast Retail Category Winner.
AMP Excellence in Business Awards 2001 Sunshine Coast Business of the Year


Excellence in Business Awards 2001 Sunshine Coast Hall of Fame.

Now, you are invited to celebrate the business’s 100th birthday.  There are many events organised to mark this historic milestone.

Now ... Maleny IGA is still serving the community from the Universal Providers building.
Then ... Tytherleigh’s Universal Providers building circa 1910.

Pictured above right are Rob and Sam with daughters Lucy, left, and Emily.

Below: Rob with staff at the kiosk.

Frank Rough Remembers
Universal Providers before WW11

Frank Rough, a man who has watched Maleny township flourish since the early 1900's, recounts life in a bygone era.

He worked for the Tytherleigh Family who owned the original Universal Providers building.  The Tytherleigh family is deeply entrenched in  Maleny's retail history, thanks to the Universal Providers building and the forethought of Alfred Tytherleigh, who later opened one of the first cash and carries in rural Queensland.   This store, surprisingly opened in direct competition to his father John's own store, was the forerunner to modern supermarkets like the Super IGA.

But in 1937 there were no utes and the whole concept of a supermarket was in its infancy.

"Back then there were still four-horse wagons carting cream to Maleny Butter Factory, although later the delivery companies switched to trucks," he said.  "What used to happen is that there would be a carrier for each area who picked up the cream from their particular farms and brought it to the Maleny Cooperative Dairy in town.

"When they were given the empty churns they loaded them back on and pulled the wagons round into Maple Street and went round all the shops, including ours, filling their orders.  "Then they took groceries, meat, bread and mail to take back to the farms along with their empty cream cans back to the customers."

But it wasn't just transport and distribution that was different back then; the term Universal Providers really meant what it said, with most shops of this kind incorporating a grocery section, hardware section and drapery section.  Plus the age of convenience packaging had also yet to dawn.

"All the groceries came in bulk in those days and very little was packaged goods," Frank said. "Even cheese came in great big blocks and if somebody wanted a slice you had to be capable of eyeballing and cutting a pound slice."  "Goods like sugar and salt came in bulk bags too," he said.  "But when we weren't so busy serving customers in the afternoon, because farmers were busy milking cows, we had time to weigh and package stuff in advance."

Right from leaving school in December 1937, Frank worked for the Tytherleigh's until 1942 when he went into the services and fought in World War II.  A little later store owner John Tytherleigh's son Alfred, who managed the shop, also joined up, which Frank recalls left the store in a bit of a predicament.

Photo right:

Frank Rough is the young bloke on the far left. 

The others in the picture are: Bill Winning; Store Manager John S Waters,   who is Lorna Petersen's father;  Alf Tytherleigh (managed grocery and hardware);  FCR Smith (Dairy farmer from Bald Knob) and Jack Francis Cousin of the Burgum family (farmed at North Maleny on Burgum's farm).


"The grocery management was left to Lorna Waters with the help of Russel Franks, who still lives in Beerwah to this day," Frank said.  "But Russel was so young that they had to organize a special driving licence for him because he was under age."

Frank recounted fond memories of his time at the Universal Providers, particularly the actions of a lady called Mrs King who then lived up past the current Maleny Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Palm Street.

"Once when I was delivering to Mrs King she found out that I didn't have time for afternoon tea given my daily schedule," he said.  "From that day on I found she had prepared me an afternoon tea at her house ... it went on for over a year, which goes to show what people were like in those days."

It's true to say that progress has made a majority of the world a far more competitive, self-centred and ruthless place these days.  "It was a much nicer place than it is today as there were no divisions and arguments about shops and things," Frank said.

"And regarding today's saga there were actually three general stores in existence back then ... to keep all the shops in business, people would run one for a month then move to patronise the next to keep everybody in business."

After four years active service Frank left the forces due to his father becoming ill and took up the family business on their farm out on the Baroon Pocket.   It was to be a move which defined the rest of his adult life.

"Dad's health was failing. I went to help and work on the land," Frank said.  "I ended becoming a farmer until 1978 and then worked at the primary school as a groundsman for a further eight years before retirement."   Frank's father Arthur also worked for the Tytherleigh's just prior to 1920.

Interestingly the family connection with the Universal Providers building has been sustained across a century. To this day Frank's grandchildren, Daniel and Ashley Brown, work part time for Rob and Samantha Outridge.

ANZ does some detective work


In conjunction with IGA's Centenary, staff at ANZ Maleny have dredged out some interesting pieces of banking memorabilia. "We've been surprised at what we found,'' branch manager Judy Fredriksen, pictured said.

"We have put together a display which includes old photos, currency, a mortgage document, a passbook dated 1906 and some of the old ES&A's hand written bank ledgers.  Among the latter is an entry for J.H.E. Tytherleigh who borrowed 1000 pounds on September 1, 1938, at 5.5 percent."   It's on display next to the teller queue at Maleny ANZ.  People are welcome to come and view, Judy said.

The ES&A Bank Branch, which evolved into ANZ Maleny, was established in 1906.  In 1908 it became a fully fledged branch.  (Photo left)-Judy Fredriksen with some of the memorabilia on display.

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The Hinterland Grapevine Online congratulates Rob, Sam and Staff
on this important milestone in the history of Universal Providers, Maleny.

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