Features, Victoria

The beating heart of Melbourne’s manufacturing industry

Located in Melbourne’s North, Thomastown and Epping are an established and industrious manufacturing base, collectively home to over 7,600 businesses, employing 39,000 workers. Manufacturing is the leading sector in Thomastown and fifth highest in Epping.

The local eco-system is recognised as a key ingredient in the ongoing vitality of the area, which continues to diversify, expand and develop, despite challenging tough market conditions.

The region plays a pivotal role in business and employment opportunities for Melbourne’s north, with government investment in infrastructure and roads supporting rapid growth. The recent announcement of Federal Government investment in the Beverage Intermodal Freight Terminal will increase connection to regional, national and international markets, and reduce reliance on air and road transport.

Thomastown is 15km from the CBD and one of the largest consolidated areas of industrial-zoned land in Metropolitan Melbourne.

“An exporter of more than twenty years, we love having Aromababy’s head office in Thomastown and the ease of ensuring urgent air freight reaches Tullamarine quickly. As a regular business traveller both interstate and overseas, it’s also a super convenient commute from home to office to boarding gate. Many of our packaging suppliers are also a short drive away and we’re ‘sandwiched’ between two amazing cheese factories,” said Catherine Cervasio, Owner, Aromababy.

Manufacturing history in Thomastown dates back to the 1880’s when the area played a critical role in providing Melbourne’s milk and dairy supply until early in the twentieth century. It later went on to become the birthplace of Pura Dairy, a link to the dairy industry that still exists today, with dairy manufacturers such as That’s Amore Cheese, Floridia Cheese and Jalna Yoghurt all based in the area.

In 1927 Fowlers Pottery built the first major manufacturing plant in Thomastown by utilising world-first processes that undoubtedly contributed to substantial growth of the local manufacturing industry at the time. Now covering over 14 square kilometres situated along the M80 ring road, Thomastown provides operators with direct access to local, national, and international trade gateways, one of the area’s key strengths.

“Sutton Tools was established in 1917 and relocated from Northcote to Thomastown 60 years ago. History has proven this was great foresight, with our manufacturing and distribution operations now located in a prime hub from a logistical stance and more importantly, an ideal area for accessing a skilled and growing labour force. Thomastown and the greater City of Whittlesea also boasts an abundant array of businesses offering the local goods and services we rely on and value,” said Peter Sutton, Managing Director, Sutton Tools.

Epping is located 20 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD and is a Northern State Significant Industrial Precinct.

“Our company thrives on unparalleled access to local, national and international trade routes, our exceptional team drawn from the local skilled workforce, is further supported by top-tier infrastructure. Beyond business, City of Whittlesea offers a vibrant lifestyle for our staff, ensuring a balanced work-life harmony. The city’s growing population stands testament to its promise and potential. We’re proud to call City of Whittlesea our home, and even prouder to contribute to its dynamic economic tapestry,” said Amir Arjmand, CEO Edlyn Foods.

In recent times Epping has been dubbed ‘the heart of the north’, with growth supporting infrastructure, an established eco-system, rapid population growth and direct access to major road, rail, air and sea trade transport routes.

“Epping is a great base for our operations. It’s easily accessible for our customers & suppliers and provides access to a talented and eager workforce. There is a good local network of similar businesses, and best of all we work closely with the City of Whittlesea on our future plans and development,” said Chris Polites, Managing Director, New Age Caravans.

Home to two hospitals, Melbourne Wholesale Fruit Vegetable and Flower Market and a developed base for major industries including healthcare, wholesale trade, transport and warehousing, the area is a priority focus for major developers and government recognising the opportunity to leverage the current pipeline of opportunities expected.

“Relocating my business to Epping in the City of Whittlesea created such a positive turning point for my manufacturing business. With the strong support from council staff members, their encouragement, and inclusion, provided me with the additional confidence to keep going. Now, we’re exporting to a growing number of countries and increasing our manufacturing. A supportive council, I feel, is an essential tool for success,” said Michelle Anderson-Sims, Owner, Wine In a Glass.

With so much history and so much evolution in the area still to come, it makes sense to consider Thomastown or Epping when you consider a new location for your manufacturing business.

To learn more about locating your manufacturing business in Thomastown or Epping, go to https://www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/InvestOpps

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