Baking beyond bricks and mortar
ONCE a neighbourhood café, Vegas and Rose has established itself as the city’s online choice for occasional sweet treats and catering.
Having worked in hospitality from a young age, owner and founder Penthea Marshall-Radcliffe said she had always wanted to open a café of her own.
“We moved to Ballarat from Melbourne and although I had two small children under the age of three, a site came open down the road so I just threw myself into it,” she said.
“It was nine years ago and it was around the time when Ballarat didn’t have any neighbourhood cafes around, people thought we were selling used furniture or it was still the old fish and chip shop.
“We were there for five years and we had to build up the customer base, it wasn’t central so it took a while.”
Having to eventually close the physical shop due to health problems, the next natural step seemed to be from home catering.
From there, Ms Marshall-Radcliffe said prompted by her former customers asking about where they could get their hands on some of her baked goods, she decided to open-up the online store.
“After the café, I still wanted to work for myself, the online shop started and it was mostly just gift boxes to begin with,” she said.
“To begin with, no one really got it, the concept of buying food online wasn’t so much of a thing, whereas now you can order everything online.
“It did take a while for people to get used to and it wasn’t a great business model to start off with but now it’s great.”
Earlier this year during lockdown, many hospitality businesses were forced to shift their business models to accommodate for takeaway, deliveries and pickup.
However, after already operating contact-free for the past few years, Ms Marshall-Radcliffe said Vegas and Rose were in a great position when the pandemic hit.
“I had the business model happening, I didn’t have to change the way that I was doing things because it was already contactless,” she said. “Through lockdown, it’s been amazing.
“As everyone was converting to takeaway, even fine dining restaurants, I didn’t have anything to worry about.”
In addition to their online catering and events offerings, Ms Marshall-Radcliffe also trades occasionally out of the pink door at the side of her home.
“We had this original door which used to be on our bedroom and we needed a gate at the side of the house so it just turned into the pink door,” she said.
“When I started the catering, people would come by and pick up their products at the pink door.
“We started setting up a little service station out the back a couple of summers ago and last weekend we re-opened so people can come in and grab some products, in the summer it looks really great out here.”
While Vegas and Rose are famous for their gluten free brownies, other specialities like toasties, cakes and ice cream sandwiches as well as take away relish and granola are also on the menu.
In addition to their core product line, Ms Marshall-Radcliffe said where they can, they try to support and sell goods from other family owned businesses.
“I’m really passionate about good food, everything is made from scratch, and I like to support other local businesses like Grounded Pleasures, their cocoa is the secret ingredient to my brownies,” she said.
“Although, I’m not even from Ballarat, I have a lovely sense of belonging here.
“Since opening the café, I’ve been able to get to know all of the producers and they’re products are genuinely good, there just happens to be really good and creative people around.”
To pre-order some Vegas and Rose goodies, visit vegasandrose.bigcartel.com or look out on Facebook to see when the pink door is open.