Why we started Alowishus Delicious

Why we started:

Once upon a time in a different life, BC (before children), my husband Michael and I went on a trip to the UK to visit friends. It was back in 2004 and, fortunately for our marriage, GPS was now a common place option in hire cars. We travelled around and as we did we came across a franchise in a few locations named “Pret A Manger”. From that moment Mike wanted to open a Sandwich Bar in Bundaberg.  Why we started.

At the time I was 3 years into a position in Retail Banking. Happily working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday with no week-ends or public holidays. My previous jobs in Health and Fitness saw me working early mornings late nights, week-ends, public holidays and all other times in between. I was in no rush to leave my job. Mike would mention the sandwich bar every couple of years and I would smile and nod in the right places, all the while thinking what a nightmare that would be.

One day early in 2011 …..

I was having my nails done. Shelly and I were chatting about the lack of places to get a coffee after 2pm in Bundy. Having been born in Bundaberg we both remembered the café scene from 20 years earlier and were reminiscing about all the options there used to be. I started getting quite excited about all the ideas that were rushing through my head:

  • Opening late nights & week-ends
  • Child friendly (I had since had a bub who was 3 at the time)
  • A venue that could raise money and awareness for charities
  • A cost point that was affordable
  • Customer Service Excellence (something I am very passionate about)

Anyhow, I was very excited about the concept and thought this would be a great idea for SOMEONE. I never wanted that SOMEONE to be me, not in a million years! That same afternoon around 5.30, Mike came home and we were chatting about our day. He casually mentioned he’d found a shop for our Sandwich Bar. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, I think I heard my jaw hit the ground. I shared my conversation from earlier in the day and for the first time in our lives we felt a sense of obligation. Previously we had completed many projects together. Everything from buying, renovating, building and selling homes to business’ and property development.

These previous ‘projects’ we just did,

preparing for our future I guess. We had the resources and talent required, so why not. This time though we felt like it wasn’t even a choice for us to make but rather a commissioning we had to undertake. There wasn’t a decision to be made about whether or not we do this, we just got started. This was in February 2011.

During the following month in March I travelled to Sydney to attend a Women’s Conference. The conference went for 3 nights and 2 days. On each of these days was a special session, a sort of a round the table set up, where women were discussing the issues that were affecting us globally. At the end of the session I felt so incredibly overwhelmed by the atrocities that were happening. I already knew about many of them and now felt powerless to do anything.                                                                                            ( why we started )

The next day I attended the same session again ….

and this time it focused on “Being the Change” you want to see in the world. We were blessed with video clips and stories of all the amazing things that everyday people like me were doing in their part of the vineyard. It featured a little old lady knitting bears for sick kids, a mum hosting new mums in her home each week for morning tea and the stories went on. I realised then, I didn’t need to be out on the frontline fighting these battles myself but rather I could support the people who were. I could do small things from my spot in Bundy to make a big impact on our community both locally and globally.

That afternoon I heard a woman called Christine Caine speak. She explained how just a couple of years earlier she had been in an airport in Greece and saw pictures of hundreds of people who were thought to have been trafficked and were missing. She shared a video from a women whom her organisation A21 had rescued, and I wept like a child. What this women had gone through was horrific and she was one of 27 million people living in bondage today. I had found my passion, I had found what I wanted our business to support.

So for the next 9 months we went about busily preparing to open our Sandwich Bar (it still didn’t have a name).

In July I had scheduled to take my long service as we thought we would be ready to open around then. The end of September was approaching and my long service was finishing so I took a 12 month unpaid career break. All the time thinking once we got this little café up and running I would be able to return to my job at Suncorp Bank.                                                                                        (why we started)

Finally came opening day, the 28th December 2011.

We thought we’d be in for an easy couple of weeks, you know, take it slow settle in, set up some systems. We were thinking this because during this time of the year the Council and quite a few of the professionals around our area take some of their annual leave. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The International Jazz Festival was being held the same week – right next door!!! We got smashed every day from when we opened until we closed. It was crazy and amazing all at the same time. I’ve heard it said that the sweetest sound to a person’s ears is the sound of their own name. Well by the end of that week I was so sick of hearing my own name that it wouldn’t have bothered me if it was never used again.

Somehow we made it through that first week and backed up again on the Monday. Since then we have grown from strength to strength. We have laughed, cried, won, lost and learned a million things along the way, but that’s another story for another time. Thanks for reading.



UPDATE: Tracey has continued sharing the Alowishus journey in a recent post, where she shares how the name ‘Alowishus Delicious‘ came about and what’s behind the logo. Continue reading here.

Take a look around Alowishus:

20 replies
  1. Yale
    Yale says:

    Grrat article and shows just why you’re so successful .. A passion for others and your commitment to the communit, your customers and the people you employ. Well done!

  2. James Stanfield
    James Stanfield says:

    Wonderful to hear the back-story to your fantastic business! I always loved the feel, the service and the food in there and this coupled with the social awareness side of things made it my go-to food shop! I really miss supporting you now that I have left town but I am looking forward to following your blog!!

  3. Fe Reck
    Fe Reck says:

    Beautiful story . I always dream of having a Café , but never have the guts to do it .

    Good for you . I love your Café . Keep up the great job !!!

  4. Paul McCarthy
    Paul McCarthy says:

    Hi Tracey,
    And what a great decision it was to open not only a place so conveniently located, but a place filled with smiles, happiness and warmth. All of which makes you want to keep coming back. Oh, and the coffee isn’t too bad either :) You have managed to create an atmosphere that feels so comfortable and home-like. Its the place to meet, the place to be. Then you add on top of all that the support you give to charity and the locals.
    Alowishus will always be my home away from home, well that and the gym…

  5. Denise Nielsen
    Denise Nielsen says:

    Loved reading your Story. We eat ther often. Keep up the good work. We recommend York cafe to all. God bless.

  6. Angela Miles
    Angela Miles says:

    Dear Tracey and Michael

    Congratulations on following your dreams. A great story still in the making. I have also heard Christine Caine speak so I am sure a lot of inspiration came from that conference.

    I live on the Sunshine Coast but always vist Alowishus for coffee whenever I am in Bundy with my work for RACQ CareFlight Rescue. I will be up in 2 weeks so look forward to another great cuppa.

    Wishing you and Michael every success as your journey continues to unfold.

    Many blessings

    Ange Miles
    0439 745 965

    • Alowishus Delicious
      Alowishus Delicious says:

      Hi Ange, thanks for your kind words. I’ve just stumbled across these responses in the back end of our website (I wasn’t aware that they existed). It’s quite amazing that I’ve just read this now. We actually attended a fundraiser for the Wide Bay Whirlybirds with Tracey & Madonna just last week. Our apprentce chef is currently doing her TAFE time and she was cooking at the dinner we went. We took 11 of our guys from Alowishus for the night. Madonna and Tracey showed us a video clip of the work Care Flight does. Was a bit of a tear jerker I have to say. I didn’t even know the Whirlybirds existed. Would love to catch up and meet you when you are in Bundy. Let me know if you have time on this trip. Shoot me an email [email protected]

  7. Peter Heath
    Peter Heath says:

    Hey Trace,
    This is a really good read.
    Amy contacted me today after the C O C breakfast.
    I’m impressed.
    I’ll work to get Bundaberg Rum on board (we’ve been there for 3 years and have a great rapport)
    Just letting you know.

  8. Peter
    Peter says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share Tracey,
    As a newbie to the coffee shop circuit I can confirm that your name is still said many times and your shop is the place to meet, especially for Christians in business.
    Take care and God bless,


  9. Marjie Pressler
    Marjie Pressler says:

    Terrific story Tracy, so inspiring. Very proud of you how you have risen from those days at the fitness club.

  10. John Felesina
    John Felesina says:

    This truly is a fantastic story of having ago , working hard and giving it your best shot.Many can learn from Micheal and Tracey.They have done wonders and given many young people their first job. A credit to Bundaberg.


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