Meeniyan on the rebound
By Chris Brown
A NEW bakery, supermarket, restaurant and bank could all be on the way for Meeniyan, renewing optimism in the town.
It follows the reopening of the Meeniyan Hardware and Plant Nursery, which will be celebrated on Saturday.
In other positive news the South Gippsland Shire Council has appointed consultants to develop a structure plan for Meeniyan.
Meeniyan Stockfeeds owner, Bill Pratt will establish the new bakery where Windmill Ag currently operates on Whitelaw St.
An exact opening date for the shop still has to be worked out.
“I can’t give a timeframe because we haven’t got a final date on when Windmill Ag are leaving the building,” Mr Pratt said.
“I’m guessing we are probably 18 months away from opening.”
Windmill Ag will move to the South Gippsland Highway at Koonwarra next to the Victorian Livestock Exchange cattle yards.
Meeniyan last had a bakery about 10 years ago.The Meeniyan Art Gallery building also once housed a bakery.
The new bakery venture will offer a sit and eat area and takeaway
It will attempt to capture the trade of tourists on their way to Wilsons Promontory and the beaches.
Mr Pratt said Meeniyan was becoming more of a tourist town.
“There’s a huge amount of parking in Meeniyan, which suits the tourist buses that go through this town all day,” he said.
“Leongatha’s not the easiest place to park in, so if they know there’s something in Meeniyan they will come through.”
Mr Pratt said he was revealing his bakery plan to make Meeniyan look stronger and give the community bank a better chance of being created.
A new bakery will also give the town a confidence boost as well as an economic lift if more tourists stop in the town and purchase goods from shops along Whitelaw Street.
“Our intention is to get the bakery up and running as a business, then sell the business and be the landlords,” Mr Pratt said.
“I’m not going to be baking bread at 3 in the morning.”
Mr Pratt also said he didn’t think there was any doubt a new supermarket would be built within 12 to 18 months in the town.
“I’m pretty certain they will take the title of the land within the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Meeniyan’s Friendly IGA supermarket burnt down on March 7 due to an electrical fault.
About $60,000 of stock and $70,000 of equipment was lost in the blaze.
One supermarket rumour floating around Meeniyan last week was that the new supermarket would be an IGA and open in February.
Community bank steering committee member and publicity officer Kaz Hughes said the bank is going ahead in leaps and bounds.
“The current pledge total as of late September was $316,000,” she said.
“We are still aiming for a target up towards the $700,000 mark and the pledges continue to roll in steadily.”
The committee hopes to be in the closing stages of achieving the bank within 12 months.
“It’s a case of, if the bank happens right until we have gone through the feasibility stage, but the Bendigo Bank is very confident that going on our progress so far we will be successful,” Ms Hughes said.
The steering committee is the major sponsor of the Meeniyan carnivale in November.
Moo’s at Meeniyan will be a new restaurant opening in Meeniyan before Christmas if the shire council grants it a seating increase.
Ms Hughes, in her role as a Prom Country First National real estate agent, said it will open seven days a week.
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