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1940 Woolworths expands to Tasmania




Woolworths opened its first store in Hobart in 1940, followed in 1953 by a store in Launceston and in 1954 by a store in Moonah.

Woolworths Tasmanian food operations began in September 1961, with the opening of a supermarket in Kings Meadow followed by six more supermarkets over the next 4 years. In 1982 Woolworths took over Roelf Vos and Purity Group rapidly expanding the coverage of Tasmania.

Roelf Vos emigrated to Australia from Holland in the early Fifties and in 1957 opened a milk bar with groceries, in Launceston. The Roelf Vos name was used on all the company's advertising, using such slogans as Roelf Vos, Tasmania's cheapest grocer. The business prospered and within ten years there were seven small grocery stores in Launceston. Vos then expanded taking over other stores and opening new stores throughout Tasmania. Woolworths acquired Roelf Vos in 1982.

Purity was the business of Engel Sypkes, another Dutch emigrant and a friend of Roelf Vos. In 1957 he attended the famous annual NCR company seminar in Daytona, Ohio, USA and returned to Tasmania convinced that supermarkets, the new retailing phenomenon sweeping the USA was the only way for Roelf Vos & himself to go. He opened his first Purity store in 1958 at Sandy Bay and expanded rapidly. Woolworths acquired the company in 1982.

By 1955 Woolworths had 200 stores including those in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT and 51 in New Zealand.

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