WRG gets behind local producers
LOCALS might expect to find an assortment of products for their pets, houses and yards at WRG (Wallington Rural Garden) in Ocean Grove but a selection of fresh produce and handmade goodies, isn’t necessarily one of them.
Rolling with the tides of change, WRG sales manager Rory Campbell said in the wake of coronavirus, they thought it was an opportune time to provide local producers a space to sell their wares.
“It dawned on us that we could be a place where people couple buy things they need without having to go to the supermarket. We started thinking about all the local producers in the area and how they lost their route to market because of the coronavirus.
“Many of them were selling to cafes and restaurants throughout the region as well as markets but they’ve shut down too.
“We pride ourselves on being a community store so thought we’d reach out and let them know we’ve got the space.”
Mr Campbell said not everyone was receptive at first, with some a little sceptical about what WRG would be getting out of it.
“A few of the suppliers were really keen straight away, they said that it was awesome and they wanted to be involved, and a couple of others weren’t as sure until they heard our reasoning.
“We want to celebrate the local community and give people the opportunity to sell their products, after they heard that they were on board too.”
Mr Campbell said it had been great to connect to different suppliers, with about 15 businesses coming on board offering up to 100 different products.
“Local for us is anyone within the region. We have lots of fresh produce: cucumbers, truss tomatoes from Portarlington – our most popular product – and a range of soaps and personal hygiene products from Clifton Springs.
“We have some pet shampoo and hygiene products, Wildings Pantry Essentials, jams, chutneys and relish products plus lots more.”
Alan Lomas from Lomas Orchards in Wallington said the orchard had been in operation since 1938 and was grateful for the opportunity to sell their product at WRG.
“The past few months we’ve leaned on home deliveries to survive. I’ve been asked by different organisations before if we wanted to have our stock in their store and we’ve said no.
“When WRG asked, I was more than happy to go with a local organisation and I think it will be a good partnership. It’s a great initiative and a good way to let people know we’re still here and to get our name back out there.”