A $1 MILLION bakery development in the heart of Rutherglen is now up and running after overcoming myriad setbacks amid the global pandemic.
Valentine's Bakehouse opened the doors on its revamped bakery headquarters on December 18 with a grand opening expected in mid-January.
Valentines Sourdough Artisan Bakers co-owner Harry Valentine Perry said the bakery hub took about two years from the concept to the soft opening.
Mr Perry said the project was delayed by coronavirus restrictions and border closures this year.
"There were quite a few holdups with the border closure," he said.
"It affected the renovation quite a bit with Albury tradies unable to work in Rutherglen when it was out of the border bubble.
"We were probably about eight to 10 months behind schedule on the opening."
Mr Perry said despite the setbacks they now had a state-of-the-art bakery and coffee roastery hub to supply its Rutherglen, Albury and Wodonga outlets.
He said they wanted to have one production facility.
"We wanted all of the baking and coffee operations to be at Rutherglen," Mr Perry said.
"We have windows and glass walls so people can see into the bakery and the coffee roastery."
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Mr Perry said they could now seat 120 people - inside, a laneway terrace and streetscape - in the expanded space.
He said they hoped to offer the family-run Olive Hills Estate wines in time for the grand opening.
"We think there is a real market for recovery day brunches with Rutherglen being a big wedding and tourism destination," he said.
"We will offer cooked breakfasts and brunches very soon."
Together with siblings Joe and Matilda, Mr Perry bought Valentine's Sourdough Artisan Bakers - which includes the Rutherglen bakery, Wodonga Plaza and Myer Centrepoint, Albury, stores and The Barista, Baker & Brewer - from their parents Ross and Kay Valentine Perry in spring 2016.
Having only learnt the trade when he first bought the bakery behind present-day Bistro Selle in Albury almost 30 years earlier, Ross maintained an epic sourdough tradition stretching back 50 years in Albury.
Now with 60 staff across all of the sites, Mr Perry said they looked forward to a positive 2021.
"Regional tourism is going through the roof; Rutherglen and Albury are buzzing," Mr Perry said.
"We've increased our production facility and our wholesale baking capacity.
"We're also looking for more people to join our team; we need people for the bakehouse and front of house staff."