With a population of just over four thousand residents, being the only bakery in the beautiful Tasmanian town of Perth certainly has its perks.
As the world closed down due to COVID-19, with numerous small businesses suffering fatal blows to their bottom line, the Tasmanian Country Bakehouse thrived throughout; a local business delivering “our daily bread” being a welcome constant in the suddenly shifting lives of many locals.
Current owner Phil Maney explains, “Our COVID experience didn't alter in dollars and cents. We took advantage by changing our business model to takeaway only, with a Mon-Fri trading pattern - moving to five days instead of six.”
Maney has a storied career in the baking world. He was a winner at the inaugural Great Australian Meat Pie Competition in 1990, starting the first company to export pies out of Australia.
Throughout that decade, he ran a 24/7 factory based near Hobart Airport, employing over 100 people, with daily airfreight of their products to Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam and China.
Throughout his career, he has opened 16 bakeries, establishing the Tasmanian Country Bakehouse in Perth in 2018. Now, with retirement on the horizon, Phil is looking for a buyer who is ready to jump in and capitalise on the goodwill he has built up.
“The advantage for prospective buyers,” explains Maney, “is that they can ride under the very established banner I have created with this business, and reap the benefits of our reputation and the consistent quality product we produce.”
Perth is a five-minute drive to Launceston Airport, making the historical township an easily accessible tourist attraction. The low overhead of operations, with only two casual staff, required means management is kept simple.
Expansion plans are also a possibility; the large floor space and heavy-duty Moffat equipment mean the bakery is fully equipped to handle wholesale orders, on top of the strong retail sales that currently drive the business.
Maney puts the bakery’s success down to “providing our customers with consistently high-grade products at reasonable pricing as well as providing great coffee and high-quality customer service.”
According to Maney, this business offers a rare opportunity for hard worker to establish themselves financially.
“My advice to anyone considering this business is to get in and work their arses off for three years and they will set themselves up for life,” he explains. “Work hard, then play hard.”
He continues: “If they do not have the commitment they won’t succeed. They can’t just sit back and count the money.”
Not just yet, anyway.
Perth is currently experiencing a major population explosion, which will go a long way in securing the Bakehouse’s continued success in this area.
Given the town’s historical architecture, it’s fitting that the Tasmanian Bakehouse is one of the country’s last remaining traditional bakeries, which Maney explains means breads, pies, pastries, cakes and slices are all made from scratch.
Many modern bakeries either “order and resell products” from nearby factories, or use pre-mix - “open the pack and add water,” as Maney says. There is also room for growth, should that appeal to the buyer.
“Having no competition in the town, there is scope to create a wholesale market to sell products into other foodservice outlets,” he explains.
“The bakery machinery is of high quality and set up to make this happen.”
All it requires is a little hard work.