Sam Assassa was born in Damascus, Syria in 1942, but his real story doesn’t begin there…
It begins in a shared house in Randwick in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in his early 20’s where his housemate was a struggling businessman who roped him into to helping with his failing food distribution business.
It was from that weatherboard house on Avoca Street the current Two Providores wholesale distribution started out on its extraordinary journey of growth.
Servicing the growing ethnic population of the metropolitan areas of Sydney from Double Bay to Dural, the original business, B & J Assassa, distributed continental food such as smoked and cured meats, olives, sauerkraut, savioardi biscuits and traditional black breads. As the demand for authentic continental food grew, so did the business. The old weatherboard house became the hub, and the area under the house was reinforced with large steel structural beams so that a cool room could be installed to hold stock.
“I cut a lot of bacon” Sam reflects. “The demand for our hand-cut, rindless, short cut eye bacon just never stopped!” and he gives a deep laugh as he explains… “You make more off it when you cut and pack it yourself… you gotta do the work!”
With their trusty kombi, Sam would deliver the orders as well as pick up additional products from a number of factories across the city as the demand for other products grew. Sam always looked after the customers and was guided day to day by the principles of integrity and quality. Sam’s boys grew up learning from him and enjoying rides in the awesome delivery van.
By 1996, the business was trading as Sydney City Foods and had over 200 product lines available and more than just the trusty old kombi delivering the goods. Adam & Kaleel joined the business one after the other, and have taken it well beyond that cool room under the house in Randwick. The brothers made a conscious decision in 2012 to change their business strategy and focus on supporting Australian producers. With their strong logistics platform and approach to customer satisfaction already set, it made sense to make Australian produce more accessible to everyone.
Sam is now retired in Lebanon with his wife who cooks for him with the abundance of produce available in the area, but he loves returning to Australia and visiting the incredible business that Adam and Kaleel have created today. “It is beyond my imagination” Sam’s eyes are large with excitement. “I gave them a cockroach and they made it into an elephant. Amazing!”
You can see how proud he is of the achievement and he explains, “The first generation builds the foundations, the second generation… consolidation! And I just hope the third generation don’t stuff it up.” he laughs.
With over 2000 product lines, 400 brands, 55 staff, 13 trucks and just 2 providores, this growing business will always remain true to its core values of integrity and quality, and Sam will pop in from time to time and relish in all of the achievements it has made, and those that are yet to be accomplished.