News / Community / Business / 13th August 2020
TAKE FIVE: with Adam and Jenna Flood from Coonabarabran Bakery
Tell me about your business:
Situated in the heart of the main street, the Coonabarabran Bakery has been family-owned and operated by the Flood family for 27 years. We are the second generation owners, having purchased the business three years ago from Keith and Ros.
We employ 18 local staff members of various ages, backgrounds and abilities. We are a team, a unit, a force moving forward in tradition and modern bakery treats. Absolutely every single thing we sell is hand- crafted and baked fresh on site: bread, pies, cakes, rolls, artisan breads - you name it. Hence why we need to house so many wonderful and talented staff - we’re working around the clock 22 hours per day.
How has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have great local support and trade and for that we are more than thankful for the continued patronage during these uncertain times. However, we cannot deny the impact the lack of travelling trade has had. Being located in a prime halfway point between Melbourne and Brisbane on the Newell Highway, Coonabarabran has been a little on the quiet side in terms of travellers.
In saying that, as restrictions eased last school holidays, business picked up for the first time since the initial lockdown started. The influx was a little overwhelming after some quieter months, however, the lack of COVID-19 manners in relation to social distancing was disappointing. We have a strong aim and passion to keep our wonderful community and staff “COVID-19 FREE” so in the wake of that we have gone back to strict sanitising and enforcing social distancing.
What current measures do you have in place?
Sanitising stations at every entry, floor marking for customers to stand on, barriers in front of counters to stand away from staff. Maximum of eight people in the store at any one time. Customers are asked to wait outside for coffee and sandwiches. Staff sanitise after every transaction and wipe frequently touched surfaces every half an hour.
Have customers adapted well to the changes?
We apologise for customers having to wait outside on the chilly mornings and rainy lunch times, but your cooperation is muchly appreciated and your COVID-19 manners allows more of our wonderful customers to enjoy what we have on offer.
While we appreciate and welcome everyone in our store, sadly some people still choose to ignore our request to enforce our ‘COVID SAFE’ plan by practising a much more effective way to follow rules by the use of verbal insults, eye rolling and shoulder shrugs. Again, another shout out to our enormously resilient staff who soldier on.
What are you most popular item on the menu?
You can’t go past a plain meat pie aka ‘Coona pie’ - a label made famous by locals. Although we have introduced some delicious gourmet pies including chunky Dianne steak, butter chicken, curry chicken and chunky pepper - and the demand for these has been high as the perfect winter warmer. Teamed with the ever- famous apple turnover, custard tart or vanilla slice, it makes for the perfect smoko/lunch.
Coona Bakery has such a good reputation across the region - what plans do you have to build upon that brand?
Aside from the retail bakery shop front we have extended into functions, catering meetings, funerals, balls, weddings, special events large and small, and introduced elaborate custom cake designs for all ages and occasions.
Another promotion that has been a hit is our weekly ‘FOODY FRIDAY’. We love the Friday vibes this promotion brings, offering a gourmet, often non-bakery-related item to tempt the tastebuds and spice up the Coona Bakery experience. Double Whammy ‘dinner and dessert’ combos are available every Thursday, including a family-size meat pie in our full flavour range alongside a different family dessert each week.
We have excitement building as we prepare our new dining area next door to the existing shop to provide further seating for our customers. We look forward to launching our fresh look, trendy side-by-side dining area once COVID-19 restrictions ease.
What would you say to other young people interested in taking on or starting a business?
Go for it! We have both grown up in families who own businesses and with the mentality of ‘working to live’. Owning your own business provides you with many things - the flexibility of hours, trademark on your products and ideas, and a sense of giving back to the community. And realistically, it’s just a job - but it’s very rewarding knowing it’s ours.
To be really corny/ honest, we both enjoy working alongside each other every day too. We often reflect on how lucky we are and that we are not at different workplaces each day. We get to experience work life and all its ups and downs together, sharing our lunch breaks, staff meetings and supporting each other’s ideas and plans and making them a reality.
How can local people help local businesses, now and into the future?
Coonabarabran is a wonderful audience, our local trade is strong and we will try to continue to grow with the needs of our customers as times and demands change. We understand 100 per cent that you don’t have or can’t buy every item locally and it can be a hassle walking from one store to another. But if in general people brought everything they possibly could from the selection of great local shops, services and organisations before they went to larger chain stores or out of town, the stock turnover and buying capacity would increase immensely.
The more you shop locally the more we can give back through sponsorship and charitable events and keep our town alive.