HALE W18 Masthead

The Local Larder

Amanda Whitley

(AKA what Shop Handmade did next)

Hearts broke all over the city last month, when we revealed Shop Handmade will close its doors on 31 May — six years, one month and one day after it first opened.

Julie Nichols and Rachel Evagelou have long been champions of all things Canberra, and they’re taking this passion for their hometown to another level with their new venture — The Local Larder.

Taking over the old ‘Rivers’ building overlooking Glebe Park in the heart of the city, The Local Larder will combine a café, cellar door, retail space and tourism hub. Designed by Capezio Copeland, the “polished rustic” space will be brought to life by Decca Build, with doors set to open in Spring.

“The Local Larder’s mission is to create a beautiful dining and retail space to showcase the best of the Canberra region’s wines, food, produce and designers,” says Julie.

“It will be a centre of excellence for all that is good about Canberra and the region.”



This is a gutsy move by the Handmade Team, because this isn’t a little undertaking. The Local Larder comprises five elements, all interwoven with a Canberra thread: a retail space, a café, a cellar door, a ‘buy and go’ system and a website that acts as a tourism hub. It will also boast an online gourmet magazine and, over time, food and wine events and a cooking school.

“The retail space will offer a mix of kitchen, dining and decorative homewares from branded candles to printed linens, cheese boards and local souvenirs, and hampers for all occasions,” says Rachel.

“There’ll be fresh bread and flowers, alongside produce such as jams, preserves and oils.”

Renowned Canberra chef, Vanessa Scanes, heads the café, which will offer a seasonal menu featuring local and regional producers/suppliers, as well as products from the shop floor.

The cellar door will be stocked with wines focusing on the Canberra region, allowing visitors to taste and buy drops from various wineries without the need for travel. Craft beers and spirits will also form part of the line up in the future.

“Wines will be available online for sale, either individually or as part of a wine club, and also on the café’s wine list. Down the line we’ll also hold regular tastings and meet the winemaker sessions,” says Julie.

But tourists aren’t the only ones who’ll benefit from The Local Larder. The Fresh ‘Buy and Go’ system will offer a large selection of fresh made sandwiches, salads, cakes, soups, juices, drinks and ready made take home meals — all made with local and regional produce with an eco focus.

“By offering local and regional designers a place to sell their products, the benefits will extend to over 150 small businesses in the region. There will be a drive to develop an awareness of local and regional produce,” adds Julie.

The Local Larder is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to duo’s plans. Also in production is “The Local Map Canberra”, will include a walking map of the city, a driving map of the region and hundreds of local listings on illustrated area maps.

Down the track, the offering will extend to an online shopping site that offers hampers through a bespoke builder, and online ordering for snacks and lunches. Regular wine tours, tastings and Meet the Maker dinners will lead to a Summer Series of events in Glebe Park.

“The essence of The Local Larder will be welcoming, warm and happy,” says Rachel.

“People will want to come. They will want to stay. They will want to leave with bags full of beautiful and delicious goods and produce from the Canberra region.”

This could be the start of something big.

Photography by Martin Ollman


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

  • Lyne Green

    totally exciting…..Well done and all the best ladies

  • Susan Arney

    How very exciting! Can’t wait & it’s certainly softened the grief I was feeling about Shop Handmade closing…woohoo! ???

  • So exciting! Congrats Julie and Rachel, cannot wait to experience this beauty!