SER­VICE WITH A SMILE

Good, old-fash­ioned ser­vice may be hard to find on the main­land but it’s a dif­fer­ent story in Tassie

Owner Driver - - Truck Deals -

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

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