Gunny Roadhouse is grocery store, police station and post office all in one

Owners Jim Darris and Jenny Grose still have renovation plans for the inside of the shop after revamping the outside and re-doing the kitchen. Photo by Daneka Hill

Nineteen months after leaving Frankston behind and taking over the Gunbower Roadhouse, the new owners are starting to settle into small-town life.

Jim Darris and wife Jenny Grose took over the Gunny Roadhouse in October 2020.

“Everyone comes here. We get phone calls about everything — someone’s fishing gear falling off the car, missing dogs, cars stuck down at the river and people asking if we can organise to get them out,” Ms Grose said.

“When the local police station is shut, we get the missing wallets.

“When our local cop is gone, everything diverts to Echuca police and they are 40km away, so the roadhouse becomes the next best thing because we are nearly always open.

“If someone has a delivery, they’ll get it sent here and we’ll hold it for them because we’re open more than the post office.”

Small-town life: Jim Darris refuels a lawnmower for a local, who drove it down the street from where she was cutting grass at the Gunbower Butter Factory, which is now an Airbnb site. Photo by Daneka Hill

In recognition of the community embracing the new residents, Mr Darris recently hosted a ‘thank you feed’ which he said was attended by more than 200 people.

“Not bad for a town of 500,” Mr Darris said.

“We had a pig and lamb on the spit. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but we were too busy, plus COVID.”

Ms Grose said they still weren’t sure what ‘business as usual’ looked like in Gunbower due to the pandemic.

“This summer might be the closest we’ve come to a normal tourist season,” Ms Grose said.

“We’re doing well in terms of offering a takeaway option on Friday and Saturday night. That is always busy.”

Mr Darris is particularly proud of his potato cakes, which he says are the real deal.

“These are made like they used to be. You can’t get them like this any more,” he said.

Alongside being the only petrol and diesel supplier in town, the Gunny Roadhouse also sells grocery basics, ice and fishing gear.