A popular Australian bakery has been forced to close its doors for good after the owner clung on to survival for more than two years during the Covid-19 pandemic but finally was unable to go on.
On Sunday, a Brisbane bakery called Bella and Tortie served its products to customers for the last time after flagging several weeks before that the business was on its last legs.
Although the bakery was well-liked in the community, in November, the company’s sole owner, Suzi Unwin, revealed it was not sustainable to continue.
In a social media post, Ms Unwin said that she often worked more than 12 hours a day, sometimes every day in the week.
“Most mornings I started at 2.30am. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays I’d finish work between 2-3pm and be back at 9pm that night,” Ms Unwin posted.
With skills and labour shortages across the country, the overworked business owner said she was unable to find a manager or other staff to give her a reprieve.
“I don’t regret it. I did what I needed to do to get the work done and try and offer my wonderful staff a better quality of life and balance,” she continued.
“The good days were great, but there were some really dark days trying to spread the word, paying the bills, paying the BAS.”
To top that off, the cost of living crisis and supply chain issues mean that the bakery boss had to fork out exorbitant amounts of money to source key ingredients.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have used such good quality ingredients and free range eggs (could have saved $25k a year!) not bothered with free range meat or fancy butter, but I had to try and run the business my way, with ingredients and products I would use myself,” Ms Unwin noted.
In a sad twist of fate, the store’s popularity could have ended up being its undoing.
“As sales and popularity has grown and is no longer the big issue, staff shortages and increasing ingredient and packaging costs are a massive problem,” Ms Unwin posted.
“There’s just been too many twists and pivots and changes to manage on top of a government that doesn’t seem to do anything to support small biz!”
In an earlier Instagram post in October, Ms Unwin said: “Anyone who has ever owned a bakery knows the margins are wafer thin. So you just slip on your crocs, get on with it and wave bye Felicia to any social life or family time.”
The Courier-Mail reported there were long lines snaking around the block on Bella and Tortie’s last day.
The company had been registered as a business on the ASIC database since 2017, which means it endured the Covid-19 pandemic that caused closed borders, lockdowns and capacity limits bringing many hospitality businesses to their knees.
Story Credit: news.com.au