Getting Fresh with Tony & Mark's and Isuzu Trucks

Getting Fresh with Tony & Mark's and Isuzu Trucks

If there’s a common ingredient critical to a successful business venture, it has to be solid, enduring relationships.

Much like the top-shelf products they bring to market throughout Adelaide and its surrounds, Tony & Mark’s gourmet grocers have carefully nurtured these long-held business relationships, from the produce growers, through to their customers, staff and even their transport partners.

It’s these lasting bonds that have seen a humble operation grow from a small greengrocer in Newton in Adelaide’s northeast, to a thriving business employing about 500 staff across the state capital.

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A family affair

Co-director Paul Capobianco, son of Tony & Mark’s Co-Founder Mark Capobianco, described the breadth of the current offer and its humble beginnings.

“The business was started in 1978 by my dad and my uncle. My grandfather was a produce grower, and they would help him pick the veggies and then sell them at Pooraka market,” Paul said.

“From there they decided to open their first retail store at Clovercrest the same year.”

Just over three decades later, the family-run operation now has seven locations across Adelaide and a string of internal brands including restaurants, florists, delis, butchers, fish and cheese mongers, catering, events, a gourmet product range and a blossoming wholesale division dubbed Tony & Mark’s Direct.

This arm of the business supplies fresh produce and fine food to restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, foodservice and retailers.

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Backed by a growing transport fleet, Paul reflected on the success of the ‘Direct’ offer, despite some challenges presented by the pandemic.

“The hotels and restaurants dropped-off a fair bit during COVID but we’re fortunate in that we service quite a few clients in the healthcare sector, such as nursing homes and hospitals, so we were quite steady during that period. ​

“We’re currently going through the tender process with a large healthcare client now. There’s a lot of boxes to tick around your business ethics, operations, the size of your fleet, size of your business, how many people you employ,” he explained.

“They want to know that you run a sustainable business and that you're going to be around for the life of the contract.”

Here, there & everywhere

There’s a bit of an art to dealing with perishable product when it comes to transport and logistics. With decades in the game, Paul and his 15-strong team of drivers have applied some real rigor to this crucial cog of the broader operation.

They’re supported by the proven reliability that a brand like Isuzu Trucks provides.

“We've now got 13 Isuzu N Series trucks in the fleet, which we use on the food service side of the operation,” said Paul.

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“We went exclusively with Isuzu for this task supplying the restaurants and the nursing homes from our warehouse at Newton.

“We’ve found these trucks help us with efficiency, flexibility and provide good driver comfort.”

The Tony & Mark’s fleet features an array of fit-for-purpose Isuzu product, meaning there’s a truck for just about every situation imaginable. The core of the line-up is eight medium wheelbase NNR 45-150 AMTs with refrigerated van body builds.

Smooth sailing

It’s the truck of choice for hundreds of food and general freight delivery operations across the country, and the NNR 55/45-150 platform offers a 4,500 kg Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM), meaning it can be piloted with a car drivers’ licence, with the added advantage of an additional 1,000 kg of payload when upgraded to 5,500 kg for light rigid licence holders.

Paired with Isuzu’s six-speed Torque Convertor - Automated Manual Transmission (TC -AMT), with its fully automatic and clutchless manual modes, combined with a torque convertor for added launch and drivability this makes for an easy driving experience.

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The NNR 55/45-150 model range is also equipped with the unique Isuzu FI026 independent suspension front axle providing maximum comfort for a day of deliveries.

Paul explains this helps with a demanding on-road schedule.

“We’ll deliver down to McLaren Vale every day and that's about an hour out of Adelaide. That driver starts early, loads up, is on the road by eight, and then they would be doing multiple deliveries from Adelaide all the way down south, do the last delivery around three o'clock and make his way back to the depot,” Paul said.

“In a typical day across the fleet, we do around 300 deliveries to customers all over the Adelaide area. That’s an average of between 50 to 100 kilometres a day for each truck.”

Keeping up with demand

With a couple of major contracts close to landing and a busy schedule already well entrenched, keeping pace with shifting transport demands is an ever-present task for Paul and the team.

Juggling this demand formed part of their decision to ‘stick’ with Isuzu and specifically, the tried and tested NNR 45-150 IFS.

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A key feature of its popularity is the NNR’s proven powerplant, a super-efficient, four-cylinder Isuzu 4JJ1-TCS engine, which offers a power rating of 110 kW (150 PS) @ 2,800 rpm and torque of 375 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,800 rpm.

Comfort and safety also become a force at play when you have 15 drivers moving around a vast region. Thanks to Isuzu’s comprehensive active and passive safety suite, the NNR 45-150 IFS is arguably the safest Japanese-designed truck cabin Paul’s drivers can work from.

The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) found in all new Isuzu N Series trucks contains a long list of driver safety aids including big ticket features like Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collison Warning (FCW). There’s also a string of ‘nice to have’ safety aids such as Isuzu’s Automatic Lighting System (ALS)—a useful addition for drivers who are clocking on and off at all hours of the day.

Lasting partnerships

Having come out the other side of the pandemic in remarkable shape, Tony & Mark’s operation continues to expand. As Paul describes, a huge part of this success comes down to relationships and service.

“We've got seven retail locations and we’re just about to open our eighth store, with a ninth one opening in February at a new location,” Paul proudly confirmed. ​

“A great advantage for us in the wholesale division is that we started out as retailers, and in the retail game, it's all about the customer and how we can help them.

“I think the real difference from our competitors is our service; if a customer makes a mistake and they forget to order something, we'll run it out on the same day at no charge.

“If they need multiple deliveries a day, we'll do it. If they need Sunday deliveries, we'll do it.

“They can ring any time of day.”

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Built on this framework of excellent working relationships and a focus on attentive customer service, it’s little wonder Tony & Mark’s is fast becoming a household name in and around Adelaide.

Working in their favour too is the team’s acute understanding of the value in timely and efficient transport, backed by the reliability and customer-centric approach of the number one truck brand in the country.

“The local Isuzu team we deal with at North East Isuzu are simply good people to deal with. They've always bent over backwards to get us what we need,” Paul commented.

“When it comes to the superiority of the Isuzu brand and the quality of the vehicles, we couldn’t be happier. I can't see why we would ever need to change.”

Getting Fresh with Tony & Mark's and Isuzu Trucks.docx 28 KB
Sam Gangemi Marketing and Advertising Manager, Isuzu Australia Limited
Arkajon Communications Public Relations Agency



About Isuzu Trucks

Isuzu Truck's promise to deliver a premium product to the Australian market has been proudly and consistently upheld. The measure of our commitment is reflected in the number of trucks on the road that bear our marque, and the number of successful companies relying on Isuzu trucks every day. When we talk about reliability, we're not just talking about trucks, but also about people and indeed our entire philosophy. In addition to our in-house Customer Care Centre, customers also have access to an extensive range of service and support programs designed to ensure that Isuzu truck ownership is a positive and rewarding experience for all concerned.

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