AROUND this time last year Aaron Spong and Huong Hoang realised they needed a fresh start.
After managing a restaurant in Port Fairy for 10 years, the pair decided on a move to Heathcote – and nine months later they opened a new café on High Street called Fodder.
Hoang said the move was based on affordability and also a chance to be closer to her family, who are based in Melbourne. While a more relaxed lifestyle and a desire to be part of close knit community also played a role in the move.
“We have acclimatised really well actually – we are still waiting for that sea breeze to come through,” Spong laughed.
“The community feel around here is very strong and you can tell the locals really care about each other.”
Originally Spong and Hoang planned to open Fodder from Friday through to Monday from 8am-4pm, but after a successful first two months the pair decided to trial Tuesdays as well.
“We moved to Heathcote just for a fresh start and we thought opening here we could have a relatively quiet café but just through word of mouth our business has been through the roof,” Spong said.
“The support we have got from locals really has blown us away.
“About 95 per cent of our cliental is local and we love that. We really wanted to give the locals somewhere they could come and slow down, relax and we think we have delivered that.”
Spong said what makes Fodder so popular amongst locals is the fresh food and the fact that is away from the hustle and bustle – the relaxed atmosphere draws them back.
Running a business like Fodder doesn’t come without its fair share of hard work – just ask Huong, who can spend up to 17 hours a day in the café, making sure all the food is fresh.
“I make everything in here,” Hoang said.
“It is tough, but we will be getting some help in here soon because I need some!”
Fodder is now open Friday through to Tuesday, 8am-4pm.