Franchise makes a splash on Sunshine Coast

NATASHA Turner had been itching to buy her own Banjo’s franchise after working with the bakery cafe in Tasmania for five years, and now she has her own at Warana.

The former Hobart resident and her partner Derek Armstrong picked up stumps and moved to the Sunshine Coast, opening the Coast’s second Banjo’s on Nicklin Way, Warana, last month.  The couple were mentored through Banjo’s aptly titled Self-Raising Program to grow their own business, and moved to Warana late last year.

Their new store is the company’s fifth in Queensland and adds another vibrant business to the shopping centre it shares with Mick’s Meat Barn and The Fruit Shed, taking over the tenancy formerly occupied by a fish and chip shop.  “It’s nice to get something else in here, to keep the centre going,” Ms Turner said.  “We’ve had a lot of compliments from people, (saying) that it was just what was needed.”

The bakery and cafe employs seven bakers, who start at 1am, and 20 sales staff who work until the store closes at 8.30pm.  Ms Turner, 30, said the move from Tasmania was great timing for herself and Mr Armstrong, who were “at that stage of life” where they wanted to explore before settling down.  She had long had her sights set on a Queensland coastal town for her new base, having visited the Gold and Sunshine coasts for holidays.  “We were looking at getting our own store, then they (Banjo’s) offered us this one, and we jumped at the chance,” Ms Turner said.  “We’ve always been interested in Queensland.”  The Coast’s warm weather and her new beach lifestyle are highlights for Ms Turner.  “We can walk to work in 10 minutes,” she said.

Banjo’s operates 40 stores around Australia, including its popular Maroochydore store near Woolworths at Sunshine Plaza. It was founded in Tasmania in 1984.  The bakery only stocks preservative-free products, and bakes a range of sweet and savoury goods daily. Its cafe is also popular, Ms Turner said.