Valley Industries opens second cafe in Taree CBD

The latest venture: Karen Wallace, Rebecca Holstein, Emma Johnson and CEO Trent Jennison at Valley Industries new cafe in Manning Street, Taree.

The latest venture: Karen Wallace, Rebecca Holstein, Emma Johnson and CEO Trent Jennison at Valley Industries new cafe in Manning Street, Taree.

VALLEY Industries opened its 10th local business this week with people pouring in to the Manning's newest eatery, 'Valley Cafe'.

This is the company's second cafe and got the big thumbs up from the first diners on Monday morning.

Valley Industries CEO, Trent Jennison was visibly proud of the latest establishment and said it was great to see the community embracing and supporting VI and its workers.

Valley Industries currently has 123 employees with a disability, 81 able bodied employees and 77 in day services, making them one of the area's largest employers.

"We're all about providing various avenues of employment for people with a disability and showing people that they're just as good a worker as any," said Trent.

"We're always seeing our employees go on to open employment thanks to the skills and experience they've gained with us and that's fantastic."

Both cafes operate with a 50-50 ratio of disabled employees to regular employees and the Manning Street cafe will now provide most of the food for the library location.

It is also the ideal place to sell the Valley Industries Honey that's made by their award-winning bee keeping team.

Robert Gander, former hospitality manager at the Mayo Hospital, manages the two cafes and the laundromat, with site managers underneath him and Julie, the cafe chef has joined the company after many years at Plates restaurant.

Together with Trent, Robert and Julie have devised the new menu which is 80 per cent Gluten Free and caters to all tastes and dietary requirements.

There's a set menu, a changing specials board and a refrigerated section for quick meals and snacks.

The cafe also boasts free WiFi for diners, with a computer with broadband for seniors to use.

The company now has businesses located across the CBD with Trent saying visibility is the key to changing people's perceptions.

"We're changing people's perceptions of people with disabilities. Our people are as good as any to work in the community, they're friendly, hard working and skilled," he said.

When asked if there were plans for any other new businesses Trent said he was going to focus on getting the new cafe settled first.

It's been a busy time for the company over the last 12 months, with new business opportunities arising with Masters, who Valley Industries supplies with all their timber products nationally, while Nature's Care Nursery is now supplying native plants to Masters stores on the Mid North Coast.

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