Last year after months of lockdown during Covid-19, Ferntree Gully Village, like many local shopping precincts around Melbourne, seemed completely dead – with empty streets and no visitors.
Anne Boyd thought: how do we get people back into Ferntree Gully Village to support the traders, how do we re-activate this shopping precinct? From this embryonic idea, the Ferntree Gully Village Food Trail was born. Knox City Council supported the idea and made it a project with funding. Planning for the Trail commenced in early March.
Nineteen traders decided this was a terrific idea – anything to encourage more foot traffic would be welcome.
The Food Trail ran from 26 March to 18 April 2021 with many new visitors to the village and regulars trying new venues not previously visited. Shoppers were seen walking the trail with their brochures and collecting stamps, so they could enter the Rotary sponsored competition to win one of four $100 Bunnings vouchers (the lucky winners have now been notified by email.) There was also a colouring in competition run by FrockUp – of which there were two lucky winners.
Ferntree Gully Thai welcomed 10 new groups to sample their authentic Thai Cuisine … ‘we didn’t realise there was a Thai restaurant in the village’ one of the new customers indicated. The restaurant is thrilled that some of these new customers have now become regulars.
Foodworks could not keep up with the stream of customers wanting to partake in their discount offer and receiving a ‘mysterious gift’ which turned out to be a very cool expandable water bottle. IGA also gave away many free chocolate bars with a $10 purchase.
There were several ‘free’ offers with purchases enjoyed Food Trail brings new customers to Ferntree Gully Village by many customers, including free coffee by Railyard Espresso and Salte. Free wine or beer with a main meal at FT Kitchen & Bar (Flame Tree Burger Bar) and Paddy’s Tavern, plus tasty giveaways from Chook Station and Fish & Chips in 71 Station StreetCustomers also loved the discount offers at Chandelier Wine Bar, Mumbai Grill, Rapture Café, Hills Church Opp Shop, Italianissimo Pizza & Pasta, Kyra’s Café and Jennifer Anne’s Cakes with all venues experiencing increased foot traffic into their stores. Jumaal from Goodlife Party Foods who offered a 10% discount on all purchases during the trail indicated that the Food Trail project ‘is a good idea that raised awareness of the Village and its variety of shops’, bringing new people in to his store who had no idea they were here.
A special mention to Hills Church Opp Shop and Jennifer Anne’s Cakes for their window displays featuring the Food Trail.
Kathryn Lowe the new Ferntree Gully Village Traders president and owner of FT Kitchen & Bar summed up ‘The Food Trail was a terrific initiative which has helped breathe life and a sense of community back into our precious and historical village … now we are looking forward to our next big event, the Village Fair, planned for November 2021’.
Follow the Ferntree Gully Village Traders on our new social media sites Instagram @ftgvillagetraders and Facebook ferntree-gully-traders-association to stay in touch with our news.
Food Trail Project Manager