By Casey Neill
Uncles Smallgoods is the last man standing in what was once a bustling foodie strip in Dandenong.
“These shops along here in Thomas Street are unchanged,” co-owner Bert Glinka said.
“Uncles Smallgoods, that’s been used as a butchery and for smallgoods for, basically, forever.”
Uncles appeared in 1994. Mr Glinka and Brendan D’Amelio acquired the store in September 2013.
They opened cafe Young Uncles next door to sell quality coffee, meals featuring the deli’s smallgoods and more.
“Young Uncles used to be an old pet shop, then it was a video library,” Mr Glinka said.
But back in the day, the strip was home to fruiterers, grocers and bakeries.
“We’re the last one’s left standing,” he said.
“You can still get a taste of the old in our deli.
“We’re still manufacturing here.
“There’s the same old smokers out the back.”
Mr Glinka and Mr D’Amelio had corporate jobs they hated and decided to sell Uncles sausages at a festival, to huge success.
“We really believed in the product, we couldn’t stop eating that sausage,” Mr Glinka said.
The elderly Uncles owners were looking to step back and put the duo to the test with a truckload of wood for the smoker before agreeing to hand over the reins.
This year they launched a sausage bouquet for Valentine’s Day and were inundated with demand.
Their online store is now going strong, they acquired a factory in Dandenong late last year to pursue the wholesale market, and opened cafe Sunny and Thor in Dandenong’s Harmony Square to great success.