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September 21, 2014

My Adelaide with George and Konnie Agalianos

George and Konnie Agalianos of Rundle Mall Plaza Newsagency have been selling magazines in the city since the mall was paved with bricks. As the latest redevelopment adds new shine to the area, their business of selling paper products in a real world store stays strong.

  • Pictures: Ben McGee

“We’ve been through three recessions, we’ve been through two Rundle Mall upgrades, we’ve been through numerous of our own shop fits,” says Konnie.  

“It’s the niche magazines that people love… the people who come for the magazines still want to feel, to touch, to see.”

“It’s been 26 years now,” add George. “We’ve been in Rundle Mall Plaza for 13 years and for 12 years before that we were in what used to be called the Rundle Arcade, where the car park is just
behind us.”

“When we bought the business we didn’t really know much about the newsagency business,” continues Konnie.

“But we happened to buy the news-agent that was most well known for magazines, and we’ve kept that up-to-date – we’ve kept that point of difference. 

“It’s the niche magazines that people love. Magazines have gone down in sales a little bit and everyone is blaming the internet, but it’s not really that bad. The people who come for the magazines still want to feel, to touch, to see. And you wouldn’t know what to look for online, but you come in here and you can find something new you didn’t know existed.”

“We’ve probably even expanded our niche magazine range a bit,” says George. “And foreign magazines we’ve expanded too. We also have a lot of high end fashion magazines that no one else would carry. There’s magazines that are worth $50, $60, even $100.”

“We carry all the regional South Australian papers and nobody else does that either,” adds Konnie. “They truck them in. And we have magazines in all different languages – Russian, German, Italian, some from South Africa. We have about 3,500 magazine titles in all. 

George and Konnie: Still smiling after 26 years behind the counter

George and Konnie: Still smiling after 26 years behind the counter


“We have customers who have had standing orders for magazines for the whole 26 years we’ve been open. And we’ve had people who’ve moved overseas then come back and said ‘oh, you’re still here’, then they move interstate and come back and say again ‘oh, you’re still here’ – it’s great!

“Over the years we’ve diversified as well – we’ve become a bit of everything. We still obviously do the magazines, stationery, cards and a little bit of Lotto. We’ve also branched into a bit of giftware, but that’s just for the locals. There’s a lot of giftware around in the city, so we don’t really try to compete. But our DVDs are our star performer at the moment. 

“We sell hundreds and hundreds – I can’t believe it. It’s very good for us and very good for our customers. Every Wednesday we get our new stock in and every Wednesday people are coming out looking for all the new things.

“People have said to us, ‘wow, I can’t even get this online’. But this particular man who supplies them for us – he used to work for the movie industry and he branched out on his own when they closed all the Adelaide offices. Now he just sources all these and he brings them in for us. It’s another niche market, which is the only way it works these days I’m afraid.”  

“This is probably the most major upgrade in the Mall we’ve seen,” says George. “The last one – they basically just ripped up the brick and put down concrete pavers.”

“We’ve been a part of the upgrade process right from the beginning because we’re involved with the Rundle Mall committee,” says Konnie. “We’ve been to every meeting and we’ve checked out the plans and we thought ‘yes, it’s going to look fantastic’. I would love to see more flowers, but more greenery will come with spring. If they complain I just tell people to wait until it is finished and then see what they think.

“It’s going to mean we’ll have more pods and more street seating and there’ll be cafés opening up which is exactly what we need.” 

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