Hills & Coast Grant: Lobethal Fodder Store Chook Nook

With funding from the Hills & Coast Business Grant, the Lobethal Fodder Store was able to create a fund and interactive "Chook Nook" for visitors to enjoy.


Project snapshot


Adelaide Hills

Project contact

Steve Shotton
Regional Development Manager

Alignment with RDA strategy

  • Economic development

Grant Recipient Case Study – 2021 Funding Round

The Lobethal Fodder Store was a passion project for animal lovers Nat and Matt Egan, opening in February 2020 on the back of the Cudlee Creek bushfires and just before COVID-19 hit Australia.

Despite the impact of local and global events unfolding as their new business launched, the Lobethal Fodder Store proved to be a success.

Looking to grow their business further and promote tourism in the region, they hatched the idea of a “Chook Nook”. Their aim was to provide a fun, interactive experience for new and regular visitors to the store and the Adelaide Hills.

An egg-citing idea

Rather than simply being a feed store, Nat and Matt were keen to create something unique with the Chook Nook. After conducting market research to test the merit of their idea, they concluded there would be a great deal of support for a space dedicated to all things chicken-related.

An area of 60m2 was earmarked within the store for this project, which would house live poultry, along with incubation and brooding areas to hatch and raise chicks and ducks. The space would also incorporate chicken-related equipment, feed and giftware, as well as providing space to host chook-keeping workshops.

COVID-19 created an unexpected benefit in generating a heightened interest in self-sustainability, including keeping backyard chickens across both regional and metropolitan areas.

How they used the Hills and Coast Business Grant

Funding from the Hills and Coast Business Grant was put toward the cost of the shop fit out for the Chook Nook. With experience in building, Matt was able to source suitable second-hand materials to create the distinct, rustic look they wanted, and also do the fit out installation.

The grant allowed shop fittings to be of a higher quality than original budgets allowed, with one notable upgrade being the use of timber apricot pallets as a feature wall, rather than hessian fabric.

What has happened since receiving the grant

Following the installation of the Chook Nook, Lobethal Fodder Store has received a lot of positive attention. A social media post on the Visit Adelaide Hills page increased their social media followers and online presence.

There have also been increases to local and out-of-town visitors in the store, which has translated into revenue increases. Children of all ages love to watch the chickens and play with the egg-beater wall, providing a substitute creche for parents while they browse for supplies or gifts, while sipping coffee from the new coffee machine. 

The uptick in business has also given Lobethal Fodder Store the income to hire a horticulturalist on a casual basis and provided a number of other flow-on benefits.

Feedback on the Hills & Coast grant process

The Hills and Coast grant was the first grant either Nat or Matt had ever applied for, which they came across after researching for “Adelaide tourism grant”. Not sure what to expect, they found the application process to be “very easy” and felt there was great feedback along the way to address the questions they had.

“Go for it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”