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Words: Zena le Roux | Image: Supplied

Using only fresh, quality ingredients, stone-ground flour, real butter, free-range products and no preservatives or artificial ingredients, Bakery on Main has won several hearts in Irene. Owner Desiré van Zijl tells us more.

How did your business start?

I’ve worked in the hospitality industry since 1995. While doing my stint overseas I realised that I wanted to open my own one-of-a-kind restaurant one day. Being wheat-intolerant myself, I started experimenting with recipes and eventually I decided to open my own bakery on 10 May earlier this year. My business is all about using good-quality and real ingredients – because I believe our bodies are our temples – and also about being able to cater for clients with specific dietary requirements. I believe everyone should be able to enjoy a delicious slice of cake or meal when they go out with their friends.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

I wasn’t able to generate enough income baking from home and I knew, to increase my income, I needed more exposure. When I heard that a shop was available in Irene Shopping Centre, which I’ve always thought would be ideal for me, I had to grab the opportunity. I love the village feel of Irene, plus, I knew that there was a need for a good-quality coffee shop in the area.

How did you find your premises?

I heard via a friend that a shop was available.

Why are they ideally suited to your business?

I wanted to open a restaurant/coffee shop in a non-commercial environment and the village of Irene has always appealed to me. I also knew the people in the area would appreciate the quality of the products I have to offer. The community has supported me since day one. I love having a shop in Irene.

Who are your neighbours?

Village Bistro – which has been in the centre for almost nine years – a pharmacy, Supa-Quick, a boutique, a hair salon and an Indian restaurant.

How many people visit your business each day?

Unfortunately, my POS system can’t record the number of customers per day. We’re fairly busy during the week and usually full on a Saturday.

What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?

I’m not familiar with the other shops around me, so I can’t really comment.

Do you have any expansion plans?

I would love to expand, as my kitchen and baking space is restrictive, but I can’t see that happening soon.

Do you operate online as well?

I do have a Facebook page where I advertise my menu daily, but I don’t have a website yet.

What’s your most popular item?

My gluten-free products are becoming more and more popular every week. Our most popular breakfast item would have to be the BoM French Toast, with delicious sourdough bread and free-range bacon. Our unique quiches are also very popular, especially the Italian quiche. People drive far distances for the apple crumble and then our cheesecakes, which are always gluten-free, are also big sellers. And, of course, our brownies, delicious coffees and our free-range chicken mayo sarmies.

Bakery on Main
072 132 4160

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