It’s taken decades but finally Pako’s river-end has its very own grocery store – Minerva Grocer.
“We’ve met so many people down this way who excited to have a grocer down this end of Pako,” store manager Morgan Hampstead said.
“Some say they’ve been waiting 20 years for this to happen.”
It’s been a big month for newly-married Morgan, who’s thoroughly enjoyed putting the new store together.
“It’s been a hectic but quick few weeks, that’s for sure,” she said during the store’s opening on 13 December.
“But it’s been so much fun because we’re really passionate about the products we’re stocking here.”
The Pako local was thrilled to work close to home.
“We’re happy to be on this side of town again that’s for sure – so we can walk to work,” she said.
“Everything is so accessible in Pako. I barely take my car anywhere because there’s just so much variety.”
Morgan ran a pharmacy in Newcomb for Minvera Grocer’s owners, and has embraced her new learning curve.
“It’s a totally different world,” she said. “Everyone is just so passionate about their produce.”
Even before the store opened, curious Pako residents – young and old – were poking their head in for a look.
“It’s the early morning walkers,” Morgan said.
The best part about working at the boutique grocer, Morgan said, is trying the products.
“I’m keen to road test some of the new stock,” she said. “That’s what we’re excited about – everything starts to arrive this week.”
“We’ve eaten a lot of the products before and that’s why we’re selling them.”
The store sells local items from Wes Eggs and Otway Pasta, to the new juice in town made by Geelong Citrus packers, “Squished”.
Other gourmet goods include Yarra Valley relishes and fresh daily bread from La Madre Bakery in Bell Post Hill.
“When we were at the Fine Food Fair we were discussing the store with suppliers there and they all just jumped on board.”
“A lot of them are very exclusive and they’re excited to finally be in Geelong.”
The store sells fresh fruit and veg from all over Victoria and has a range of cookbooks to help customers get the most out of it.
“We’ve got products which we think Pakington Street will love,” she said.
“And we’re happy to special order things for people where we can.”
By co-incidence they’re also the local stockists of Melbourne’s “addictive” Brazen Brownies.
“George from Brazen saw us as he as he was driving to Torquay,” Morgan said.
“He just walked in the door and said ‘I sell Brazen Brownies, would you like to be stockist?’ and we said yes.”
One of Pako’s newer newlywed couples Morgan and her husband met 10 years ago in Warrnambool. She moved with him to Geelong six years later.
“I’ve been here for four and half years but I call Geelong home now,” Morgan said.
While getting married they met Lyndal from The Flower Dispensary.
“Lyndal has been kind enough to style our window for the store and has supplied us with some gorgeous flowers to sell in-store from The Flower Dispensary.”

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