Client Story: Bakers DelightSeptember 2, 2021
In 1995, husband and wife team Mark and Amanda Jensen moved from Adelaide to Mount Gambier to manage a Bakers Delight Store. After a few years and still only in their 20’s they purchased the store, built a second store and had a child – all in the same year! After buying and selling a couple more bakeries in Darwin, the couple is now back to owning one store in Mount Gambier, which they relocated last year to a commercial property on Compton Street that was purchased in partnership with another fresh food retailer. At the time, the relocation was risky and costly, but they’ve continued to grow and delight their customers with everything from hearty breads to sweet buns, savoury bites, pizzas and much more.
In less than 20 years, they’ve gone from a small operation to employing over 45 staff, with ongoing annual growth. In the 2020-21 financial year, they also supported 12 staff through their apprentice/training with TAFE SA. With a turnover of $2 million, their store is one of the most successful bakeries in the Bakers Delight family, and Mark and Amanda have trained many other successful franchisees, too, through the corporate apprentice/traineeship programs.
“The journey so far has been great,” says Mark. “It’s always a challenge, and we’re still both very ‘hands on’ in the business, which trades 363 days of the year.”
Challenges during the business journey
The couple has faced all kinds of challenges along the way – everything from street closures near their location (which have sometimes taken months), to new shopping centres opening and major supermarkets relocating, to finding and training long-term staff (especially bakers), all while raising a young family and working in the business full-time.
Fortunately for Mark and Amanda, the company was considered an essential business during COVID, so trading was not significantly affected as long as South Australia was out of lockdown. However, there were new cleaning and COVID plan protocols, as well as additional precautions for the safety of staff and customers. They also worked to liaise with suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure there were no delays of stock deliveries.
Key to success
Mark and Amanda have worked extremely hard, experienced steady growth over time, and have become a true success story within the Bakers Delight family.
“The key to our success so far is to always be actively involved in the business and to treat our staff with respect,” says Amanda.
Mark says, “My only advice to other business owners – or someone just starting out – would be that if you’re in a small business, stay open as much as you can and put the business first, then family. It sounds crazy, I know, but if you want to be very successful, you need to be crazy and do crazy things that other people and businesses don’t do. Love what you do, love your staff and love your customers – and then, hopefully, you’ll love the money coming in.”
Oreon’s role in the business journey
Oreon’s Lara Alawattegama has had a business relationship with Mark and Amanda for over eight years, and when she joined the Oreon team last year, they moved with her. Lara has worked with Mark and Amanda through many of their business milestones, including restructuring their business, purchasing and selling their bakeries, relocating and other day-to day assistance.
“Oreon strives to be a one-stop financial hub for them so that they’re free to build their business,” says Lara. “We’ve been able to take the stress away in regard to their accounting and bookkeeping affairs, have structured their set-up to minimise tax and provided guidance on achieving their short and long-term financial goals.”
“The best thing about Oreon is the people,” says Amanda. “They are lovely to deal with and always get back to us when we have issues. We love them lots!”
Future of the business
Mark and Amanda hope to retire while they’re still young, and they’ve planned, invested and managed their personal finances with that in mind, so they expect that in the next 10 years they will wind things up at Bakers Delight.
“We might still work, but hopefully we won’t have to,” says Amanda. “As long as we’re not running a seven-day-a-week business, anything else will be easy.”