It’s no easy task starting, operating and growing a small business, especially in the ever-changing world of food. With one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world and food brands being consolidated into ownership by fewer and fewer – often multinational – businesses, breaking into the market through commercial channels is virtually impossible.
We’re enormously proud that the VFMA creates space for dynamic food entrepreneurs to find a footing, test the market and expand.
Gamze Smokehouse is based in North East Victoria. Eight years ago, owner Felix Gamze was operating out of a single butcher’s shop in Wangaratta Plaza and selling at VFMA accredited farmers’ markets.
VFMA farmers’ market sales enabled their expansion. When the Plaza was closed by its owners, the business moved to more wholesale with direct sales through farmers’ markets. Now employing ten full time staff, the business operates out of a Wangaratta factory and runs its own-branded restaurant in nearby Milawa, famous as Australia’s first gourmet region.
They used to make 100kg of smallgoods at their butcher’s shop each week. Now Gamze Smokehouse ships three tonnes of product every week: pork, turkey, chicken, beef, trout and salmon. Sharing their success, some of their ingredients are from fellow VFMA accredited suppliers such as Limestone Pork, and Walkabout Honey used in marinades.
You can now find Gamze Smokehouse artisan, Victorian smallgoods in shops in NSW, Queensland and, from mid-2022, South Australia.
Felix Gamze is largely retired but maintains a watchful eye. The business is now in the hands of family including MBA-qualified son Brendan, son Simon (who you see at farmers’ markets) and son-in-law Jason looking after marketing and logistics. Approaching the business operations pragmatically, farmers’ markets are a smaller proportion of their overall turnover now but still provide an “intangible benefit”, says Brendan.
In our accredited VFMA markets there are many successful small business stories we’re proud to share. Get in touch and share yours: firstname.lastname@example.org