In 2021 our Movers and Breakers conference is flying to the wine and food heartland of Australia, the Barossa, South Australia. To celebrate, we caught up with Business Chicks member Shelly Cox who sources the best of the area for her business, Makers & Merchants Barossa.
How did you find yourself in the Barossa, have you always lived there?
I’m an Adelaide-born qualified winemaker who has worked in the Barossa wine industry for 18 years and now operate two Barossa businesses. I am passionate about helping find solutions for people in business, love to think outside the square and I find great enjoyment in working in the Barossa.
Why do you love living in the Barossa?
It’s a fantastic place for our family to grow and know what it feels like to be an active member of a community. We love participating in sports – netball and cricket – and it has especially been an enjoyable transition from employment to business owner as the support from the community is uplifting. We are surrounded by so many sole traders and family businesses it has been a really positive environment to start and grow a business.
Tell us about Makers & Merchants and how it began …
I left my position as a winemaker in 2018 to start my consultancy practice guiding small businesses in the Barossa. Through this, I identified the need for a collaborative space for the region’s freelancers and small businesses. I established Workspace Barossa in July 2019. 18 months in, Workspace Barossa has fostered the Barossa’s entrepreneur ecosystem, reaching 90% capacity, with 45 members and servicing over 70 businesses within the region. I have extended this offering with our next venture, Makers & Merchants Barossa. This is a fully serviced retail and online space to share regional producer’s stories and sell their products. I was inspired to create a welcoming retail space plus support for those in product-based businesses. I want to help consolidate costs and minimise risks for product-based businesses. In such prominent tourism areas, such as the Barossa, I noticed it was quite cost-prohibitive for a shop-front opportunity, so why couldn’t there be another way? An online store would also allow for greater exposure, national and international shipping anytime plus allowing the makers to concentrate on creating.
Best place for coffee?
We love Black Bird Coffee House for brunch (as it’s next to our store!), as well as Beans & Cream and Darlings which are two coffee places in Tanunda who roast their own beans, and are a popular choice!
Best place for a lunch with the girls?
Seppeltsfield Fino sitting under the palm trees is divine. Harvest Kitchen at Calabria Wines also has spectacular views over the Barossa Valley, great food, views and wine to boot.
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Best place for a spoil-yourself-dinner?
FermentAsian or Musque are my husband’s and my favourites when the kids are at a sleepover and we have the dinner choice!!
Best place to stay for a couple’s weekend away?
My husband and I spent our wedding night at The Louise – which is spectacular luxury for a romantic weekend away! For a budget to allow more to spend on food, wine & shopping I love Stonewell Cottages or The Villas – Barossa.
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Best place to stay for a family vacay?
Barossa Valley Discovery Park – so much fun with great accommodation options from camping, glamping and cabins – plus a super exciting water park to keep the kids amused! The Barossa Farmer’s Markets are a great experience for the kids too – buy food fresh from the farmers, held every Saturday morning in the outskirts of Angaston.
Best place to shop?
Makers & Merchants Barossa (of course!) is a great start – we bring together the best branded artisan and bespoke products. The range of products including homewares, gifts, art, clothing, wine, gin and jewellery. The retail store showcases these brands on Tanunda’s main street and provide a space for makers and merchants to collaborate and organise events such as workshops, demonstrations & tastings. We are so excited to see the growth of beautiful offerings such as Alabaster for some solid retail therapy, Living by Design for great furniture and homewares, Daisy & Hen for kids clothes & toys and the Barossa Valley Cheese Company for a great selection of cheese – to sample & take home! This is only the tip of the iceberg as there are so many more to discover, as well as our fabulous winery & distillery offerings.
El Estanco is a gorgeous café & restaurant in Greenock, a 15 min drive from Tanunda- there are boutique wineries, brewery, pub and stores which are popular among Barossa locals. There is also a wonderful hiking and biking culture with so many picturesque places to go for a lovely walk or ride – which helps to discover more of the region!