SAM Cafe update and next steps

Shepparton Art Museum Limited (SAM Ltd) is urging local businesses to embrace an opportunity to operate the gallery café within the new iconic building with a reimagined, expression of interest (EOI) process now underway. 

In a bid to attract a Goulburn Valley based hospitality partner, SAM Ltd has set new guidelines on how the partnership will work and announced a third round of advertising for the EOI in the past 12 months. 

SAM Ltd Chair Stephen Merrylees said SAM will attract tens of thousands of people to the region in coming years and the cafe was an opportunity to showcase local produce as well as develop opportunities for the hospitality industry. 

“The SAM Ltd Board is listening to the community and working alongside many well-known businesses to find a way to make this offering work in unprecedented, challenging times delivered by COVID-19. We firmly agree with the community that a well-run café is essential to the success of SAM and should benefit the whole town,” Mr Merrylees said. 

“This third EOI will be shorter and advertised for a three-week period only. Our hope is this more responsive and abridged EOI process will better suit local providers and businesses. 

“The Grand Opening of SAM will take place on October 15, COVID allowing, and if we want to have a café up and running, we need to think creatively,” Mr Merrylees said. SAM has engaged CAF Consulting to progress the EOI process and meet with local businesses to progress opportunities. A date for the EOI process will be announced and until then, interested parties should contact Andrew Gooley, SAM Business Manager. 

“I encourage local business operators to come forward and be part of the solution.” 

SAM is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the region and provide millions of dollars in economic stimulus for the Goulburn Valley through flow-on effects. 

SAM Ltd has previously undertaken two EOIs to operate the café in February 2020; and January 2021, which were not successful. Discussions with local businesses also continued to understand business needs, and ensure the opportunity is attractive in challenging economic times. The hospitality sector has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, staffing challenges, and operating uncertainty over the last 18 months. 


The new café is located in the SAM building on Victoria Park Lake’s southern end and overlooks the wetlands and native bushland of the Goulburn River. It provides an exceptional view from both the first floor café with outdoor terrace and the top floor function space with bar. 

The five storey, metal clad building houses the new Shepparton Art Museum, indigenous art gallery and workshop Kaiela Arts, and the Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre. The building was designed by internationally renowned architects Denton Corker Marshall and was built by award winning Kane Constructions. 

ABOUT SAM: Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is one of Australia’s outstanding regional art museums, showcasing our exhibitions and collections in new and exciting ways and creating a welcoming, inclusive and engaging space for all audiences. Artists are central to our work. Our programming is designed to be locally relevant and engage with global contemporary ideas. SAM is recognised for its significant Australian ceramics collection, and our nationally significant collection of Indigenous art. As the only public art museum in Greater Shepparton and north central Victoria, our mission is to present great art in Shepparton, and to contribute to the cultural enrichment, community engagement and economic prosperity of the region. 

Media enquiries, please contact: 

Gabriella Calandro, Engagement Manager, SAM

p: (03) 4804 5020