The Tiny Dynamo Winning Hearts at Local Grocery Store

In the bustling aisles of IGA Noosa Outlook in coastal Queensland, a pint-sized helper steals the show. Meet Milla, the two-year-old dynamo who’s captured the hearts of locals as she pitches in alongside her grandmother.

For four generations, the Derlagen family has been woven into the fabric of this grocery store. Bart and Cheryl Derlagen took the reins in 2004, following Cheryl’s father, Ron, who opened the store’s doors in 1993.

But it’s not just the family tree that’s evolved over the years. The store has undergone two makeovers, adapting to changing times and customer needs. With the recent pinch of the cost of living, public perception has shifted, and the Derlagens have worked hard to stay in step.

Enter Michaela Smallcombe and her husband Conrad, the latest additions to the family business. For the past few years, they’ve been lending their expertise, with Conrad officially joining three years ago. Together, they’re raising the next generation of Derlagens: Milla and newborn Hadley.

Little Milla has become a fixture at the store, donning her miniature uniform and name badge with pride. She eagerly assists her grandmother, whether it’s restocking shelves or charming customers at the counter.

“It just sort of happened,” Conrad shared with “Sometimes, we both need to be here, so we bring her along. She’s taken to it, especially hanging out with grandma, climbing ladders, and stocking shelves. She loves it.”

Customers adore having Milla around, delighting in her enthusiasm as she helps them select the ripest bananas or the freshest produce.

Bart, who should theoretically be slowing down, finds himself busier than ever, thanks to his grandchildren. In his 19 years at the helm, he’s witnessed the grocery industry transform, with IGA Noosa Outlook adapting to stay competitive.

“Expanding the store and lowering prices, along with price matching, has changed the game,” Bart explained. “We used to have this reputation for being too pricey, but we’re slowly changing that perception. Customers appreciate the shift.”

He credits his dedicated staff with championing affordability and ensuring that IGA Noosa Outlook remains accessible to all.

But for Bart, it’s not just about business. It’s about family and the lifestyle they’ve built together. And with Milla eagerly following in their footsteps, the legacy of the Derlagens at IGA Noosa Outlook seems destined to continue for generations to come.

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