A strategy to keep prices under control amid the cost of living crisis has paid off handsomely for Tony Galati’s Spudshed empire. The retailer’s sales soared 16 per cent in the year to June to pass $500 million for the first time. Spudshed put a lid on prices despite cost challenges in a bid to keep customers coming through the chain’s 17 West Australian stores as families grapple with inflation and rising interest rates. Chief executive Frankie Galati — Tony’s son — said the supermarket wanted to deliver the best value possible. The pressure on wallets had led to shoppers shifting to the chain, he said. “(Even) if your mortgage bill is going up by double, triple, everyone needs food,” Mr Galati said. He said he expected a similar sales trajectory in the year ahead as house prices continue to lift in Perth and with interest rates at the highest level since 2012. But Spudshed would focus on being an affordable shop where customers can “stretch the dollar”, Mr Galati said. Spudshed’s profit more than tripled to be $5.4m for the year. The O’Connor-headquartered chain business runs a farm to supermarket model intended to keep supply chain costs down. The younger Mr Galati said costs were rising for the industry. That ranged from the affect of floods to the rocketing price of fertiliser during the financial year. The price tag of employing Spudshed’s 1500 staff lifted about 16 per cent to be $63m, according to the annual report filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Getting and keeping workers was a big challenge, Mr Galati said, especially on farms with handpicked crops such as broccoli, cauliflower and grapes. “It’s hard to get people out to the farms to do that kind of picking,” he said. “There’s so much opportunity at the moment, its hard to keep people.” The business had been consolidating in recent years but Mr Galati said Spudshed would have an eye out for opportunities, highlighting plans for a new store in Geraldton. Spudshed has also invested into new hothouses to grow more vegetables within the State, including capsicum and eggplant. The business was founded by Tony Galati, a potato grower well-known as WA’s Spud King. Mr Galati engaged in a long fight against heavy regulation by the former Potato Marketing Corporation which served as a barrier to farmers wanting to grow the humble vegetable. He successfully defeated the regulator in 2016 after declaring “I would rather go to gaol than stop doing what I love”.