Published by Cobram Courier online and in print on March 5.

Barooga residents will soon be able to do their grocery shopping without crossing the bridge, with an IGA Xpress supermarket opening next month on Vermont St.

For new owners Daniel Rowe and fiancee Emma Ornberg, this is their first business venture — but not their first experience with supermarkets.

They last week moved to Barooga from Chiltern, where Mr Rowe was a sales consultant for Coca-Cola Amatil.

He said he started working in supermarkets as a teen growing up in Jerilderie, and dealt with supermarkets while with Coca-Cola Amatil.

‘‘When I saw the opportunity here, I thought it was actually something that was good for the town,’’ Mr Rowe said.

‘‘A town like Barooga needs a good, local, convenient supermarket.

‘‘If you’re going to enter the supermarket industry, it’s best (you) don’t get too far ahead of yourself. We just thought this was the right fit and the right size for us.’’

The opening follows the closure of the former IGA supermarket at the same Vermont St location last year.

Barooga Advancement Group spokeswoman Leanne May welcomed the announcement, saying it was a sign of the town’s strong economic development.

She said the supermarket would have a great impact on Barooga.

‘‘A lot of tourists camp down at the river over Christmas and usually immediately head to Cobram ... because Barooga didn’t have the things that service their needs,’’ Ms May said.

‘‘Hopefully this will bring them over our side a bit more.

‘‘And since IGA shut (last year), the elderly community suffered probably the most, so this will be a great convenience for them.’’

Mr Rowe said he and Ms Ornberg would run the store themselves to begin with, and employ some local staff once the business was established.

He said he hoped to build strong ties with the community, not only as an employer but also as a stockist.

‘‘We do have some good plans down the track to source local produce.

‘‘So we’re hoping that we’ll get some locals come by and drop off their cards and tell us what they can do.

‘‘It’s definitely one of our big plans — supporting local growers and farmers, and also local businesses, too.’’

Mr Rowe said it would be a big year for himself and Ms Ornberg: in addition to opening the store, the couple was expecting a baby in June.

He said they were excited about the move to Barooga.

‘‘We just liked the country lifestyle and thought this would be a really good place to raise a family,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re looking to settle in long-term and become part of the community.’’

Ms May urged Barooga residents to ‘shop local’.

‘‘A business is only going to go as well as the customers and community that support it,’’ she said.

AuthorToni Brient