General Store beyond the basics

September 27, 2021 BY

Meeting, greeting, greenery: Rachel Sheehan will make the most of the shop’s outdoor spaces, stocking plants, and pots by Allen Designs. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

THREE-one-three Lydiard Street North has drawn Rachel and Steve Sheehan back into enterprise.

The Soldiers Hill shop’s location and “cuteness” were too good for the couple to say no to, having sold a business 15 months previously.

Interested and experienced in retail and hospitality, they have purchased the cafe space, formerly The Local, but will provide more as Lydiard General Store.

“I want to offer a destination and experience for people to remember, where everybody that walks through that front door feels like they’re walking into my home,” Mrs Sheehan said.

“It’s a friendly, inviting, warm and relaxed place to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and feel like you’re sitting in the kitchen with me. I want to know people’s names.

“We are incorporating retail into the business, with easy grab-and go gifts, candles, accessories, and eclectic artwork.

“We have a laneway, and are hoping to have a little nursery with cacti, succulents, indoor plants and funky planters.”

Once the store gains momentum, Mrs Sheehan plans to introduce packaged deliveries.

The cafe will support local producers where possible, have an “extensive” drinks menu, takeaway or “stay and savour” cakes, sweet treats and toasties, and even dog-friendly cuppas and snacks.

The Sheehans expect the space to encourage community connections, not only between those in the Soldiers Hill neighbourhood, but those further afield. This has already started to happen organically.

“Whilst we’ve been doing renovations, many people have been knocking on the door or the window, waving and commenting on how fabulous it will be to have the shop open again,” Mrs Sheehan said.

“It’s a great tight-knit community that I’m just busting to be a part of.”

The Sheehans hope to open Lydiard General Store at the end of October, in line with the Victorian roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown.

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