A DISAPPOINTING start to business has led to a booming venture for one Wimmera couple.
Melissa McFarlane and Dorian Doti started Wheat Milk Sugar in Hopetoun in March last year, making fresh pasta and gelato. But despite a busy start, traffic soon dropped off and the business struggled for support.
The couple learned of a shop in Horsham, and thought it could not hurt to have a look.
“We met with the landlord, and went ‘let’s do it’,” Ms McFarlane said.
In August, the couple opened their Wheat Milk Sugar Horsham branch, and was overwhelmed with the response. The business provides a range of food from pasta, gelato, and sorbets to ready-made meals and bite-size treats. They also roast their own coffee.
We want people to feel respected, and we like to have a conversation with our customers.Melissa McFarlane
“Horsham has been fantastic. They were really progressive and understood what we wanted to do,” Ms McFarlane said.
“We had no intention of opening another shop so early but through persistence and hard work, we’ve made it happen.
“It was really hard not having the support when we started, but once we looked past all that and realised we had an opportunity in Horsham, we moved forward.
“It has been very positive for us. When we started the business, our first question was, ‘What if it fails?’
“Our answer to that was, ‘We’ll take it on the road’, which is sort of what we’ve done.”
Ms McFarlane said the couple had since decided to close the Hopetoun business.
“We made the decision to shut the shop to the public last week – just before the Bon Bon Cafe there closed – as it just wasn’t working,” she said.
The couple moved to Horsham this month, and has plans to further develop Wheat Milk Sugar as the business nears its first birthday in Horsham.
“We love innovating. We’ve just introduced two new sauces to our range, and Bonnie and Clyde’s have put our pasta on their menu,” Ms McFarlane said.
“We listen to feedback and provide for our customers. We like to greet people when they come in and say goodbye when they leave.
“A lot of people comment on the interaction. We want people to feel respected, and we like to have a conversation with our customers.”