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On the tourist trail

AFTER 23 years in Wangara the Gum Nut Factory is on the move, chasing the tourist dollar in a bid to boost business.

Anita Caesar purchased the souvenir business, inspired by the State’s unique flora and fauna, 12 months ago and said she had no option but to move to new premises.

“We’re off the tourist map. Some inbound operators visit us but since there is not much tourism further north, we often miss out. A lot of people go to Hillarys and AQWA and then turn around,” Ms Caesar said.

“It’s all happening in the Swan Valley … and I hope by moving there I will have more time to concentrate on other aspects of the business. I wear too many hats at the moment and I want to get out on the road and get into other areas.

“It was either move or close the doors.”

Ms Caesar will move into a showroom purpose-built by Chapel Farm principal Darren Walker, a location she said was becoming a precinct within the valley that was perfect for her Australiana products and planned product extensions.

“There is Chapel Farm, Garbin Estate Wines, Jane Brook Wines, the Gomboc Gallery and Lyndon Gallery. It’s becoming an area on its own,” she said.

Mr Walker said the businesses were connected by the Vineyard Walk Trail that had become a bridge between food, wine and art.

“Once word gets out it will be huge. You can visit six places in a five-minute walk. You can park your car at any one of the businesses and walk along the bush trail to the others,” he said.

“The walkway links us to Jane Brook Winery and The Gumnut Factory will be along the way. For them to come here in the middle of gum trees and jarrah is ideal.”

Mr Walker said the Gumnut Factory showroom was one of many extensions of Chapel Farm’s operations.

He has opened a new bar, extended and paved the courtyard and will open a microbrewery in the next year.

The Gumnut Factory’s ancillary businesses, the mini-golf and tearoom, will not accompany the business’s move to the Swan Valley, allowing Ms Caesar to concentrate on extending the operations of its core business.

“I want to get out on the road and get into corporate gifts. We’ve designed trophies made all in gumnuts that I want to get out and show people,” she said.

“I’ll also be selling bigger things, such as dining suites made out of jarrah.

“Someone had offered me the products and now I have the space to put them on display. I also want to work on some ideas to incorporate things like the banksia on to the top of coffee tables.”

Mr Walker said that, while the showroom would not be completed for this year’s Spring in the Valley festival in October, people would be made well aware that the Gumnut Factory is on the way to the valley.

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