Rob and Luisa are proudly at the helm of the family business. Drawing on culture and traditional family values, the couple have a firm vision for the future of Bendigo Foodstore.

By Sue Turpie – Photography by David Field

It could be said that a passion for food and food service runs in the veins of the owners of the Bendigo Foodstore. Luisa is the third generation of her family to be at the helm of this business. After spending her childhood in Bendigo, Luisa lived and worked away during her early years before returning in 2007 with her husband Rob.
The shop, situated in East Bendigo, is a favourite amongst locals as well as visitors and their support is something the couple are grateful for. It’s ensured the store’s longevity.
“My dad’s family bought the business in the 60s,” Luisa says. “After growing up and watching my parents run the business, fate brought me back 10 years ago. I took over the business two years ago putting my own stamp on their work. Together with my husband Rob we have a vision for our store and believe it is something special and unique.”
The couple are quick to acknowledge the work that was done before them by Luisa’s family, but as she explains, after 30 years in the business, her parents needed and wanted to live life a little.
“After working with them for eight years and having my beautiful children I couldn’t walk away,” Luisa says. “I developed a strong passion for food during this time and a vision to share this. And I am proud to be doing this today. “
For Luisa the motivation in creating and forging ahead with the business all comes back to family. Bringing loved ones back to the dinner table to share in food and life.
“This is something that Rob and I together with our children believe in,” Luisa says. “Instilling the notion of sharing family life. Food is a vehicle for achieving this.
“Our heritage being southern Italian inspires both the produce and the style of food we offer at the food store. Our homemade sauces are created with our traditions in mind. Creating an easy meal option for busy lives. Wherever possible we source organic produce and products, just like it would be in Italy-Calabria where our heritage lies. We believe that food is only as good as the produce and products used. We describe our food as ‘rustic Southern Italian inspired food’.
“And without our amazing staff our store would not be where it is. We are grateful to them for embracing our vision and helping to create the culture of our store.”
Plans include expanding the store’s range of local and imported cheeses and introducing a range of fresh, handmade pasta. The couple prides themselves on serving locally produced hams and bacon as well as other smallgoods, an area they also hope to expand next year.
“Our vision for Bendigo Foodstore is a place where you can come in, buy your morning coffee, pick something up for lunch, and have dinner sorted too,” Luisa says. “Housemade with love from our kitchen to your table. More of our customers are looking for organic products and, in general, healthy eating, which is what we promote.
“We’re excited to see where Bendigo Foodstore is heading. Watch this space.”