In 1934, Herb Charlesworth purchased a small nut shop at the Adelaide Central Market for his wife Doris to run. More than seven decades later, family-owned and operated Charlesworth Nuts is still thriving as a beloved Australian brand with shops throughout South Australia. With a growing online marketplace and an eye toward further brick and mortar expansion, Charlesworth Nuts is continuing to build on the strong values and passion for quality that have become synonymous with the Charlesworth name.
The Charlesworth difference
Every business has factors that set them apart from the competition. At Charlesworth Nuts shops it’s all about the friendly smiles, the fresh, high-quality flavors, the thoughtfully conceived gifts, and the promise of hot roasted nuts for every guest—all the little things that put the company’s dedication to customer service front and center.
“We’re very passionate about those things—we live them and breathe them every day—the service side of it especially,” says Brett Charlesworth, Managing Director at Charlesworth Nuts and grandson of its original owners. “If you treat your customers well they’re going to keep coming back to you, so we set out to make every customer experience a memorable experience. Smiling, engaging, caring, and advising—all of those simple things are things that set us apart.”
That passion is built into the business, and affects every aspect of the company. It’s in the factory, which has largely eschewed automation in favor of handmade confections and hand-arranged gift baskets. It’s also in the company’s relationships, from communication with customers to partnerships with the suppliers providing Charlesworth Nuts with the raw fruits and nuts it turns into handcrafted treats and gifts every day.
“It’s a business very much built on values and a passion to only sell the absolute best product we can,” says Charlesworth. “We’re absolutely passionate about people, whether it’s customer service or whether it’s dealing with our suppliers or our team down here in Marion. It’s all about respect and treating people well and caring for them, whether they’re your customers or your team members. If you do that job very well and consistently, and if you’ve got a good product to sell, then generally you’re going to have a good business.”
Three generations of quality and growth
While Charlesworth Nuts was founded by Herb and Doris Charlesworth, their children and grandchildren have kept the legacy of the business alive in the decades since, and Charlesworth credits his father Chappy—who took over the business after World War II while grandfather Herb suffered from health issues—with the passion for quality that is an integral part of Charlesworth Nuts to this day.
“This was where we really started to put a huge emphasis on freshness and quality of products we sold,” says Charlesworth. “They had to be of a very high standard and the absolute best when it was in our care, so that when it was sold to our customers, we knew that they were getting best product they possibly could. He was incredibly passionate about that, and those qualities were instilled in my brother and I, and we’re instilling them in the next generation. That’s very much a hallmark of our business.”
Brett Charlesworth and his brother Mark were brought into the business in the 1970s, and with this third generation the company opened its Marion factory headquarters and began expansion from one shop to a dozen throughout South Australia. Today the fourth generation, consisting of Brett Charlesworth’s three sons, has now already entered the business and is bringing with it the passion and drive to push the growth of Charlesworth Nuts even further through methods like interstate development.
“We’re looking at that very seriously in the years ahead, and just continuing to expose my three sons to the business—what it takes to grow and be successful, all the while maintaining our values as the heart and soul of the business,” says Charlesworth. “It’s just a matter of getting the processes right, working on systems and making them more entrenched—as the business gets bigger and bigger, it’s important that the right structure’s there. Now we’re just going through a bit of a generational shift.”
Charlesworth is also proud to discuss the recent addition of a new member of the Charlesworth Nuts legacy, and the beginning of its fifth generation: Jayde, born 18 months ago to middle son Kain and his wife Kat. “She’s already become a bit of a face to the business,” the proud grandfather boasts, noting that she was featured on the front cover of the company’s Christmas catalog last year. “Really it’s to reinforce the fact that we are all about family—we are a business, but the family side of that is very important to us, and we think it’s very important to the people we’re selling to. Everyone’s part of a family, everyone relates to family, and really we’re just one family selling to other families out there. Little Jayde allowed us hopefully to connect with people even more out there.”
What does the future hold in store for Charlesworth Nuts? “Over the last five to 10 years now, it’s become increasingly obvious to lots of people that nuts are nutritious,” says Charlesworth. The brand is constantly working on bringing innovation to its inventory with new lines from chocolate coated liquorice treats to healthy nut mixes to appeal to diet-conscious crowds—though Charlesworth notes that it is crucial to always stay true to the brand. “A lot of our products are reasonably simple and straightforward,” he adds. “But that’s often what gives them the appeal.”
The company is also looking to grow outward and continue building as a family business, reinforcing business infrastructure and further promoting its online sales while also nurturing the core of the business, which continues to be its brick and mortar shops. Most importantly, Charlesworth Nuts will continue to pass down its legacy of passion to the generations to come.
“It’s not just about business, it’s our family name that’s up there and it’s our reputation that’s at stake,” says Charlesworth. “It’s not just this commodity we’re buying and selling, it’s very much a personal and emotional investment in it. Nuts have been drummed into us. That’s what we believe in.”