Ballarat businesses continue to be agile in response to the coronavirus outbreak and rapidly changing government recommendations.
Housey Housey, The Forge, 1816 Bakehouse and PFD Foods Ballarat teamed up to open a new venture to the public on Saturday that connects customers with products in the restaurant supply chain.
Customers can order food like pasta, flour and canned tomatoes in bulk, as well as pre-made meals and meat, online for pick up or delivery from Warehousey, The Forge Supermarket.
We really just get on with the job and play the hand we are dealt in the best way we can.Tim Matthews, Warehousey co-founder
Warehousey co-founder Tim Matthews said the store would link customers directly with stock that would otherwise be in the restaurant supply chain.
"We have got a lot of stock leftover so suppliers have been talking to us and suggested we consider selling it directly to the public at Housey Housey," he said.
"It is an easy way for people to get bulk produce they perhaps otherwise can't get from the supermarkets or there might be limit on how much they can buy.
"There are a lot of people who can't get food but there is also food in different channels, so what we are doing is connecting the two - the supply chain and the people who have the demand for food."
Mr Matthews said Warehousey was also a way for Housey Housey to create a different business offering, while keeping chefs in work and providing different jobs for staff.
"We workshopped it during the week and by Thursday we realised there was a need," he said.
"We put it all together really quickly and had a team working around the clock on it. That included some of the guys from the suppliers PFD and Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, The Forge and 1816 Bakehouse as well."
Mr Matthews said he would continue to add new suppliers to the offering and was working with Eat, Drink, West on the possibility of stocking local produce.
"We will also reach out to Wilsons to try to capture the food that would usually be going through the restaurants," he said.
"A lot of the fruit and vegetables that go to restaurants are really tasty, but they are not always visually appealing. We want to make sure we make the most of all the food in the system so it doesn't go to waste."
Mr Matthews said as co-owner of Housey Housey, The Forge and 1816, the coronavirus outbreak has been devastating for business, but he was working to be as agile as possible in response to government recommendations.
"It really is devastating to see all of your hard work changed so quickly," he said.
"The impact on the staff and the people is phenomenal.
"We are really trying to do everything we can to be positive and move as quick as we can so we can keep people employed, do what we can to keep the business sustainable and give as much hope as we can to our staff and customers.
"We just have to go with it. Once we hear the government advice we just listen and adapt. We don't spend any time debating it. We really just get on with the job and play the hand we are dealt in the best way we can."
Mr Matthews said the response from customers at Warehousey had been positive, with many happy to finally access products they were not able to buy from the supermarket.
He thanked Commerce Ballarat chair Nick Thurlbeck for helping to facilitate the opening of the new venture and applauded the collaboration of the Ballarat business community.
Visit warehousey.com.au/ to make an order or see what products are available.
- We're here and we always will be: The Courier's reporting of coronavirus
- What you should and shouldn't do if you're in coronavirus self-isolation
- How do I know if I have COVID-19?
- How many confirmed COVID-19 cases are there in Ballarat?
- Coronavirus: How many confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Australia?
- Coronavirus in Victoria: confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19