SERVICE WITH A SMILE
Good, old-fashioned service may be hard to find on the mainland but it’s a different story in Tassie
THE SIDMOUTH General Store and Roadhouse, situated beside the Batman Highway in northern Tasmania, may not appear to be a regular truck stop compared to most on the mainland, but it’s a popular place to take a break for those on the ‘Apple Isle’ who drive for a living.
The roadhouse is a family-owned and run business, employing family members and local staff.
The Batman Highway connects the eastern and western sides of the rich Tamar Valley and is busy with trucking traffic.
When Owner//Driver stopped by earlier this year it was evident that the trucking industry makes up a large amount of the roadhouse’s clientele.
A number of regular drivers were already inside ordering food and coffee, including log hauliers, fuel carriers, road fill haulage trucks and others carting frozen goods to various businesses in the area.
The other customers range from loyal locals and tourists, as well as the vineyard, orchard and fish farm workers in the area, all coming to fuel up and enjoy the friendly service provided by the co- owners Kylie Barker and her sister Leanne Barker.
Sister-in-law Donna and champion netball player Jamie, who lines up for the Cavaliers side in the state-wide competition, were also at work when Owner//Driver called in.
The truck drivers especially like having a chat to Jamie about the Cavaliers, while football is also a hot topic during the winter months.
The roadhouse and general store is open between 6am and 7pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 7am to 3pm on Sunday.
Kylie confirms that truckies were a big part of the success of the business.
“There would be at least 80 trucks a day here and sometimes even more,” Kylie says.
“Some of them we see two or three times a day; they are a great bunch and love to catch up for a chat.
“They come for coffee, takeaway food, pies, salad rolls and toasties, and we are always ready to cook to order when they call up on the UHF.”
Despite the extensive food menu, Kylie says the truck drivers’ favourite food was undoubtedly the egg and bacon sandwiches, although the hot roasted cashews made for a healthy snack to eat on the road.
She adds that many of the truckies who call in are hauling containers travelling to and from the nearby Bell Bay port on the Tamar River.
Others cart potatoes, livestock, milk, gravel, heavy equipment and timber. “We get them all,” she says. Kylie, Leanne, their partners and parents have been in the business for 11 years, which is currently up for sale.
Kylie (left) and Leanne Barker run the show and have a wide variety of food on offer
Left to right: Kylie and Leanne Barker with staff members Jamie and Donna
Trucks of all shapes and sizes called in at Sidmouth