Polly's Delightful Pastrys owner Lisa Warburton.
Polly's Delightful Pastrys owner Lisa Warburton. Rob Williams

$11k power bill cripples popular bakery

IT was a combination of events, maybe even a 'perfect storm' that led to the end of local business Polly's Delightful Pastries which after 20 months of operation has closed the doors in Yamanto.

Lisa Warburton was the brains behind the shop which specialised in cakes and pastries, but in the end it was a drop off in customers and the overheads that drove her to the decision to close down.

"There hasn't been a bakery around Yamanto for a while, which was one of the reasons I chose the site next to the Shell service station," Lisa said. "Everything in the shop was ready to go, which made my initial set up much cheaper.

"It was the cakes and pies that kept people coming back, I had a lot of regular customers who loved what I did. They loved the food but unfortunately while I could afford to keep the customers I had, it meant due to overheads I wasn't taking home a wage. The rent was over $1100 a week, and in the first eight months of operation I got a power bill of $11,000!

"At the end of the day I got to the point I said I'm not paying another cent in electricity until it was sorted, something was causing the high costs. One month alone there was a $4000 bill!

"Energex came out and worked out where the bulk of the charges were coming front and I got it down, but when you have rent, food bills, power it adds up," Lisa said. "I have to take my hat off to people in small business. I was living off savings, and I couldn't keep doing that, you don't get anywhere. To be honest I don't think people understand the overheads of keeping a shop open. The dearest product I sold was $7.50 so you have to sell a lot of food to cover the bills."

Lisa has gone back to working for someone else, loving her job which is still in the hospitality industry, working at a local takeaway and also for a catering company.

"I'd love to do it again, but I need to get the right place. The servo I was next to was the dearest of the three in Yamanto, plus the meatworks nearby closed which was a real blow. That was 250 workers who every morning would drop in and grab breakfast or lunch.

"I just couldn't recover from that. The owner of the servo knew that petrol was cheaper by 20 cents over the road, but there was nothing he could do, which caused the traffic into the complex to drop right down."