By Bridie Walsh
New owners of the Dunkeld General Store, Melissa and Adrian Field, opted for a tree-change when they moved from seaside Jan Juc to Dunkeld in January this year. Locally sourced produce and your everyday grocery needs are available for purchase with the addition of brewed coffeeon the new coffee machine.
“We wanted to give the community and tourists a little hub where they can find almost anything and everything they need,” says Melissa Field, who stocks Schultz organic milk and yoghurt (Timboon), Istra Meats (Daylesford) and Melbourne-based Philippa’s bakery produce.
They are proud of the regional goods you can find at the General Store. “A local lady makes some cakes and slices for us here in Dunkeld. We also sell relishes and jams from Lana’s Garden (Warrnambool) and Fat Fox (Skipton), as well as other dairy products from Grampians Pure sheep dairy (Glenthompson) and cheese from L’Artisan (Timboon).”
Returning to home soil
The couple were born and raised in the region, with Melissa growing up in Hamilton before moving to Geelong in the late 80’s.
The Fields ran a deli and coffee shop in Torquay for four and a half years. They also run an online business, Lambykins, which they have had for 6 years. It is a child’s woollen blanket product they sell to national and international customers, frequenting sheep and wool shows like the Hamilton Sheepvention and sometimes selling at markets to promote their label.
With two young boys aged six and eight, the youngest in prep, “they are loving the change”. Having parents that own the general store has perks, like icecream. Field says they would have it every night if the boys had their way.
What people need in a general store
“It was originally the local newsagency and we still carry the newspapers and a small variety of magazines,” says Field. Along with basic groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, as of a month ago, The General Store started doing lunch items: egg and bacon rolls for breakfasts, salad wraps, and toasted ciabattas.
Along with the local cheeses, the store stocks “some great French cheeses”. Field says, “We stock things we like to buy when we’re away or entertaining, like chorizo, salami, dips and crackers, and quality meat for a BBQ.”
For the local community Dunkeld General Store has maximised supplier relationships to get in the kind of produce people in the community need and use. “Hopefully we’ve helped a lot of local people travel less for their food.”
Refit makes the most of the views
The couple have worked hard to upgrade and refit the store whilst staying open seven days a week.
The floor was replaced and finished in March. Fresh paint, new refrigeration and shelving has added to Field’s aims to create a “warm, welcoming feel”.
“We have some seats outside and some lovely recycled wooden benches inside across the front of the store with stools,” Field says. Through the two windows “you can look out to the mountains.” Whilst the service is takeaway, people are welcome to sit.
If you are visiting Dunkeld, Field says: “Come for a morning coffee, grab some brekkie and the paper, or pick up some nibbles like cheese, meat and dips for a picnic, pre-dinner snack or even find what you need for dinner.”
The Dunkeld General Store is located at 93 Parker Street. Their current opening hours are: 6am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday; Saturday 7am to 4:30pm; and Sunday from 7am to 3pm.
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