The Cube Wodonga is now home to Ploughmans - a cafe, providore and picklery showcasing produce from across the region.
Husband and wife Reuben Brand and Anita Martins are excited to open their doors on Tuesday, August 9, after more than 12 months in the making that involved constant hurdles due to the COVID pandemic.
With a downturn in tradespeople, Mr Brand turned his hand to helping the builder, Ian Llewellyn, with the fit out.
“I worked side by side with him for months to get this place up to spec,” Mr Brand said.
“We also worked with Steel Road (Custom Furniture) in Yackandandah who knocked it out of the park with the cladding, the cabinetry and our large bench seat which is all Messmate wood that has been locally sourced.”
Anita, who is an art director and graphic designer, spent months researching and designing the fitout.
“It’s been a great partnership and the place looks fantastic. It would not be a fraction of what it is without Anita,” Mr Brand said.
The couple, who were living in Sydney for the past 15 years, moved to the Border a year and a half ago.
They looked at many locations for their business, saw this one, and thought it was “brilliant”.
Among the deciding factors was the site’s location in the cultural precinct of The Cube and Hyphen - Wodonga Library Gallery.
The couple look forward to working with Wodonga Council to activate the area with events such as “meet the maker” nights.
Mr Brand, who has worked on and off as a chef and barista for more than 20 years, also has a fine arts degree and a Masters in Media Practice that saw him work as a journalist, with stints in Pakistan and Syria.
“My love of food grew in Sydney while working in a lot of little delis, cafes and restaurants and I was trained under a couple of fantastic chefs in and around Sydney and that’s how I entered into the kitchen side of things,” he said.
The couple hope to use their love of food to bring the community together.
“We have been in lockdown and separated from each other for so long and we are now coming out the other side, so we would love to share our food with everyone and we have created a seasonal menu with lots of sharing plates,” Mr Brand said.
The business stocks a variety of jams, pickles and other fermented goodies.
“Almost everything we have on our shelves is either made locally or regionally, with only a few extra items from afar. I am also doing lots of pickling and fermenting,” Mr Brand said.
“When we moved here, we saw so much fantastic produce being made around the area - lots of artisan makers doing terrific things – and we really wanted to put that on the plate at Ploughmans.”
Ploughmans will use Sixpence Coffee roasted beans.
“It’s from a fantastic roaster in Bright who has been phenomenal throughout this whole experience,” Mr Brand said.
“We can’t wait to share their liquid gold with everyone.”
Ploughmans will also offer Frankies pastries made in West Albury and Silver Creek Sourdough made in Beechworth.
The business will operate Tuesday to Sunday, 7am to 3pm.