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Armidale's Welder's Dog sets a different course with Bunker Boxes

REPURPOSED: Dan Emery in front of what was to be a mobile beer coldroom, but is now used to transport boxes of meat, fruit and vegetables.
REPURPOSED: Dan Emery in front of what was to be a mobile beer coldroom, but is now used to transport boxes of meat, fruit and vegetables.

Dan Emery said the shock of the temporary closure of both Welder's Dog hotels, in Tamworth and Armidale, lasted for about 24 hours before a survival plan began to take shape, and so far they've had nothing but good feedback.

Forced shut by the federal government's COVID-19 strategy, Welder's Dog owners Dan, Tom Croft and Phil Stevens thought outside the square. They came up with boxes of fresh produce delivered to the front door.

"We've changed tack from brewing beer and teamed up with local producers from around the region," Dan said.

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"Trying to keep their businesses afloat, we've made this thing called Bunker Boxes and we're trying to spread it throughout the north-west.

"You can jump on our website and order a box and we will deliver it to your door and keep the essentials coming. You wont even see us, we'll send you a text."

Orders placed before midnight every Wednesday will be delivered on Thursday for those who live within 10 kilometres of Armidale or Tamworth.

"We want to get a different variety happening, and as more producers come on board it'll change each week. We don't want you getting the same thing each week, so we'll change it up," Dan said.

"The website will evolve. We sort of pulled it together in about 100 hours, so no doubt we've got a few mistakes to iron out, but ...

"At least we can keep as many employees as we can through this whole thing."

Dan said they had been overwhelmed by how well the new branch of the business went.

"We capped the first week at 100 boxes, and i the first 12 hours we'd already gone over to 102," he said.

"We've already taken 85 pre-orders for next week. We've got to learn a whole new trade, essentially, but so far it's been awesome.

"It's been nice to have a conversation with some of the producers. Usually we're all business, go, go, go. So, already there is some good coming out of all this."

He said the pace had slowed considerably.

"I was even telling the boys that I dried some pumpin seeds out with my kids, and I haven't done that in 20 years," Dan said.

"What we're trying to do is build this up so we need our casuals to come back on as truckies, not barmen."

This story Welder's Dog survives on Bunker Boxes first appeared on The Armidale Express.