Farmer and Sun. A name all of Gympie knows and loves. Two businesses, dedicated to providing and showcasing our outstanding local produce.
The Farmer and Sun journey first began in 1992, when Steve and Trena Waugh bought their farm. They’ve had a love of farming and growing local produce ever since before they started in 1987. The couple first made money off of the farm by selling their fresh produce at markets around the area including in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Hervey Bay, Maryborough region and Eumundi.
The retail side of Farmer and Sun first began in March 2012, not long after the Southside shopping Centre opened. When the business first opened its doors, they stocked only their farm’s produce and stock from 10 other farmers they knew. Fast forward to 2017 and they now have over 60 local farmers on board in addition to their own produce and have over 100 suppliers for their shelf products. “Mum makes her own products like jams and chutneys from the local produce”, daughter Charla says. “We also have an organic section”.
The word local plays an integral part in Farmer and Sun’s mission. “We always buy local first before going anywhere else.”
A new system has also been introduced where stickers are visible to tell customers how local the fresh fruit and vegetables are. “[The stickers are placed] on all the local produce and they’ve started putting it on some of the products on the shelves as well.”
The Farmer and Sun store’s widely-appreciated rustic décor is the doing of Trena, who is an avid collector. The shop is tastefully decorated and full of antiques and collectibles. Whilst pointing to the old electric jugs neatly lined up on the shelf, Charla explains: “All this old stuff, that’s stuff she’s just got floating around at home.” She also added that all the furniture in the stores were made from recycled timber right here in Gympie by her Aunty and Uncle who are cabinet makers. Everything in the store, from the painting to the furniture making, was done by the family.
The success of this business led to the opening of the Farmer and Sun Café, which has since received the same success as the first business venture.
Charla, 28, owner of the café was working at the council before she decided to work full-time at the family business. Originally a PA in the engineering department, Charla worked at the council since she finished school in 2006 and took on a council traineeship. After six years, she left the council to help her parents run the store.
Charla became owner of the café in April this year, but she’s treated it like her own since the beginning. “I love doing what I do here and managing [the café]”, she says.
Farmer and Sun is a locally-owned, family-run business. Whilst Charla works in the café, brother Layton works with mum Trena in the retail store and dad Steve overlooks things on the farm.
This month marks two years since the café first opened its doors. In fact, the Farmer and Sun businesses are growing so quickly, the family is looking for ways to expand. Charla mentions that the café is trying to make takeaway whole lasagnas and quiches and would love to start making take home meals. The businesses have even been asked to open up other stores and consider franchising.
Both businesses have received many awards between them. In the annual business awards hosted by the Gympie Chamber of Commerce, the café received the 2015 New Business of the Year and the 2014 Business of the Year was presented to the retail side.
Charla has also won some Women in Business awards herself.
Judging by the way the businesses are flourishing, we’re certain more awards are heading this family’s way.
To learn more about Farmer and Sun, visit their website www.farmerandsun.com.au.
You also get a FREE scone with every coffee purchase when you present your My Local Discount card at the Farmer and Sun cafe. To learn more about this discount special, click here.