ON Businesses at home: Lending a hand

Around this time last year, McLaren Vale’s Never Never Distilling Co. was celebrating its title of World’s Best Classic Gin in London.

Today, its owners are ramping up production of hand sanitiser to assist local medical practices and other high-needs organisations in the fight against a global pandemic.

It’s a stark comparison of how the world has rapidly changed in the face of COVID-19, and an example of how City of Onkaparinga businesses are adapting to help their communities.

“We never would have anticipated making hand sanitiser,” says Never Never Managing Director George Georgiadis. “Our gin business has been significantly impacted by the closures of bars and pubs, and our five-week-old distillery door had to close, so proceeds from these sales will go towards keeping our amazing team employed,” says Georgiadis.

“Its availability has plummeted across the country and we’re seeing everyone step up, from big guys like Four Pillars, to smaller businesses like us. We were getting asked a hundred times a week if we were planning on making some [but] it wasn’t until doctors started messaging that we realised the problem was a serious one that deserves attention.”

Other local businesses pivoting their operations to lend a hand include a popular co-working space harnessing its café to feed the vulnerable, and a café becoming a makeshift general store to offer essentials that can’t be found on supermarket shelves.

Co-working, hotdesking and café hub, Meeting Place MV, closed its café to diners in March to funnel its energy into catering for the vulnerable in self-isolation. Owner Mark Potter, armed with two new benchtop ovens, is now pumping out about 200 meals a week to people with disabilities and vulnerable families in the region through its NDIS partner, Legacy Lifestyle Supports.

He’s also enlisted the help of friends and neighbouring cafes, wineries and businesses to offer meal hampers, grocery boxes and mixed wine cases, available via Meeting Place.

At Port Noarlunga, one café – The Flour Store on Saltfleet Street – has even transformed into a makeshift general store, selling staples such as flour, pasta, rice, toilet paper and food and wine from local businesses, to help residents that were facing empty supermarket shelves.

When times get tough, it’s good to know City of Onkaparinga businesses are there to help.