News & Gifts on Banna |

TEAMWORK: Owners Manjit Singh Lally, Pinkal Patel (centre) with staff (from left) Mel Mitchell, Jessica Mitchell, Maninder Kaur, Kathy Anderson and Amanda Farrell.
TEAMWORK: Owners Manjit Singh Lally, Pinkal Patel (centre) with staff (from left) Mel Mitchell, Jessica Mitchell, Maninder Kaur, Kathy Anderson and Amanda Farrell.

The merger of two Griffith newsagencies will be a bonus for the community, with an expansion in the range of services the pair was previously providing.

Owners Manjit Singh Lally and Pinkal Patel have combined their two newsagencies, located in the middle block and top block, to create News & Gifts on Banna.

Taking up multiple shopfronts in the top block at 412-414 Banna Avenue, the new entity has consolidated and grown the services it can provide.

Mr Patel said it had been quite a task to ensure a smooth transition to one store.

"For six months we have been working behind the scenes," he said.

"It was going to be a huge task. Now we can relax a little bit because we have the best staff on the floor who know what needs to be done

"The middle block shop (Griffith Newsagency) has been there 97 years, but we are bringing everything to the top block because the shop is two-and-a-half times bigger. It is a wider shop.

"Because of the size we can do plenty of things and we will be increasing the top block services.

"We will hold onto the Griffith Newsagency name. It is an iconic name. We don't want to release it; we want to be able to use it at a later stage."

News & Gifts on Banna currently has a staff of 15, including the two owners and delivery drivers.

Griffith Newsagency won the Local Customer Service Award at the 2019 Griffith Business Chamber Awards and the owners will continue to bring that award-winning level of service to the new entity.

News & Gifts on Banna is the sole newsagency for Grififth and its surrounding towns, with a huge range of newspapers and magazines in stock and available to order.

Their stock includes a number of foreign language publications, from Chinese and Hindi, to Italian, Portugese and Greek.

The store is still a NSW Lotteries agent selling weekly draw tickets and scratchies, and now has an increased range of giftware; puzzles and games; cards, ribbon, gift bags and wrapping paper; guest books; personalised special occasion gifts where any message can be imprinted onto glassware; a big range of gifting chocolate; and stationery, including rubber stamps.

New services at the store include providing money transfers through Western Union; short-term loans; an agency for Ladbrokes; V-Line ticketing and bookings; Bitcoin top-ups; payments for Melbourne and Sydney toll roads; fishing licences for NSW and Victoria; and being a pick-up and drop off point for TNT and Toll packages.

There will also be self-service coffee and hot drinks, an ice cream fridge, drinks fridge and fresh sandwiches and bread produced by a local bakery.

The merger reflects the faith the store's owners have in the Griffith community.

"We are expecting good growth," Mr Patel said.

"Now we can concentrate on the one store and improve the services we were lacking.

"If you are going to be just a traditional newsagency, you can't survive. We can concentrate properly on this store and it will be better than before."

Mr Patel also sees a strong future going forward, with plans already afoot, including establishing a wholesale business.

"We want to settle this one down, but we have plans for a commercial website where people can order online and we'll deliver," he said. "It will be a live online shop."

SPACIOUS: The interior of the expanded store at 412-414 Banna Avenue.

SPACIOUS: The interior of the expanded store at 412-414 Banna Avenue.

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