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27 July 2020 |Community news

Meet Anna and Steve, owners of Merchant & Maker.

Images showing local Dunsborough business 'Merchant & Maker' displaying takeaway coffee cups, customer service and freshly baked bread.
Tell us a little bit about your business - what you do and why you do it.

Merchant & Maker wants to be a destination for the community. We love to see people of all ages enjoying our space, catching up for a coffee or purchasing something for a gathering later.

We offer specialty coffee, house baked organic breads and cakes, lunch options and take home dinners, all made in our kitchen.

We are also grateful to be showcasing and supporting other small businesses through our range of local produce, homewares and gifts.


What have you found to be the most challenging obstacle/s faced during the last few months? and why….

The sudden lack of sales had a huge effect on the business and meant that we quickly had to adapt. This meant changing everyones hours to accomodate during these special times.

As business owners we feel a huge responsibility for our employees and ensuring their livelihoods, so these were some very hard but necessary decisions to make.

Over these challenging times, what has surprised you about how you have
handled things in your business?

We quickly moved from the initial panic of “what the heck is happening in the world” to "we need a new business strategy and move forward despite the challenges”.

Within a week we managed to built an online platform and have all our products online, as well as setting up a collaboration with local “Raw Life Juice” to make local deliveries possible.

How do you think this experience has changed the way you approach your business now and into the future?

Due to Covid, we had to act quickly and didn’t have a lot of time to plan. This has taught us that sometimes you can just trial without too much thinking and then change the strategy along the way if it’s not working.

The online shop for the general groceries didn’t turn out to be a great success, but rather the website worked well as a platform for sales of hampers.

Looking back now, do you think you would have done anything differently?

We would have spent more time relaxing if we had known how short the pain would be :-) We initially thought we would have to completely change the business, as this might last years!

Looking back there was a lot which we had absolutely no control over.

We did decide to spend our energy on the things which we did have control over, as working on creating new opportunities and keeping our head space healthy, instead of going down a path of complaining and being negative.

What are you looking forward to in your business moving forward?

During these challenging times, our team has grown stronger. Realising how much responsibly and ownership the individual employee has taken, we look forward to ensuring that each of them are continuously thriving and growing in their roles within Merchant & Maker.

Despite being more quiet than ever during these last months, we have also felt the great support of the local community.

With current renovations planned, we look forward to offering an even more welcoming and functional space for our customers and employees alike.

The motto that you bring to your business and/or personal life? has this changed in light of COVID challenges.....or remained the same?

In both our personal life and our approach to business, we place a lot of emphasis on ownership and responsibility, always thinking how we can improve our services, products and procedures.

If something goes wrong or is not up to our standard, we work on fostering a culture where everyone asks themselves “what could I have done better?”

It can definitely be a challenge to take responsibility rater than placing blame, but as a motto and business approach we believe for this to create a better work environment in the long run.

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