A retail dream two years in the making

10 December, 2020 by Brydie Allen

This retailer profile from the November issue of National Liquor News tells the story of Regions Cellars, South Australia. 

Two years ago, Jeff and Michelle Ottaway were walking their dog Moxie around the local area in Dulwich, South Australia.

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When walking past Dulwich Village, home to cafes, a bakery, butcher and supermarket (but no bottle shop), one particular space caught their eye.

“We said, ‘Imagine if this ever became available to lease?’ And then a couple of weeks later a ‘For Lease’ sign went up,” Jeff said.

Knowing that the only thing missing in the shopping village was a bottle shop, and wanting Dulwich locals to have the opportunity to support and explore the South Australian drinks industry, the Ottaways set about acquiring the space to create a boutique bottle shop. But it wasn’t an easy process.

“We thought it would be just like any other business: lease the space, put in an application to get a liquor license, and off you go, but it wasn’t like that,” Jeff laughed.

Jeff and Michelle leased the empty space for two years while they underwent the process to get their liquor licence. They knew, as did the community, that the space at Dulwich Village was the perfect spot. Throughout the application process, the husband and wife team received more than 150 letters of support from local residents.

The result of this support, alongside a successful liquor licence, is the newly opened Regions Cellars, stocked exclusively with products from South Australian producers. Some of the brands on offer include Kangaroo Island Spirits, Unico Zelo, Pikes Beer Company, and many more.

“We’ve travelled all over South Australia to meet with local producers to bring some of the best bottles we could find back home to Dulwich,” Jeff says.

The focus on local forms a large part of the store’s philosophy and as Michelle described: “This is a friendly local shop for our community.”

“We want locals to experience the best of South Australia with producers, brands and products that you don’t normally see in the major supermarket chains. We’re keeping the money in South Australia with local producers and we’re employing local people.”

Jeff and Michelle are excited about the prospect of helping people in the inner eastern suburbs of Adelaide explore what the wider state has to offer, something that is especially valuable as Australia overcomes the pandemic. They’re also looking forward to connecting even more with the community, employing a customer loyalty program and planning ways they can say thanks to locals who have supported them over the past two years.

“We’ll be sending out hand-signed letters to the community to thank them because their support was part of the reason we got the license and we can’t thank them enough,” Michelle said.

“The wait is finally over and we are so excited to be bringing the ‘Regions’ of South Australia to your neighbourhood bottle shop.”

You can read this story and much more in the November issue of National Liquor News.