Island Whole Foods is one of the most successful cafés on scenic Phillip Island. Yet owners Laura and Matt McNamara are set to leave it all behind. The couple has decided to raffle off their profitable seaside café to fulfil their dream of travelling around Australia.
Laura started Island Whole Foods at the local markets, selling handmade raw chocolate, treats and green smoothies with her then 6-month-old in tow. Over time the business grew and in 2015, she and husband Matt invested in a café in Cowes.
Island Whole Foods Café was born and soon became one of the most popular on the island, offering a plant-based menu which specialised in raw treats and vegan fare.
The learning curve was steep. Neither Laura or Matt had a background in hospitality, but Laura was passionate about healthy tasty food.
“I wanted to share my love and knowledge on the amazing health benefits of wholesome plant-based foods with the local community,” explains Laura. “I had never run a cafe before and quickly learnt on-the-go, training my husband as well, who also had no experience in hospitality.”
Island Whole Foods is the only plant-based café in the Gippsland and Bass Coast Region. The couple makes everything in-house including their own nut milk, cashew cheese and raw treats. With paddock to the plate a global trend and the sustainability and traceability of a product becoming more important to consumers, Island Whole Foods is on to a winning recipe. Since opening in 2015, the café has amassed 9000 followers on Insta and Facebook and the business has grown to turn over a healthy $500k a year.
“As a team we are very focused on sustainability, minimizing waste, reducing plastic use and supporting customers to bring reusable cups and containers for takeaway. The cafe is a Community hub of like-minded people with a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” says Laura.
“The Cafe is also unique in the fact that it is situated in close proximity to world-class waves, pristine nature reserves, the fastest growing humpback whale migration route in the world and also Australia’s number 1 natural tourist attraction in the penguins.”
Given all the business has going for it, it’s hard to believe the couple is prepared to leave it all behind. But that is exactly what they are doing. This month couple are raffling off the profitable seaside café. The funds raised will allow the McNamara’s to pursue their dream of travelling around Australia whilst also supporting a number of causes. $2 from each ticket sold will go to Take 3 for the Sea, and other local charities.
‘Our mission is giving. The driving force behind the raffle is to not only find an owner, but also to raise awareness and funds for our chosen charities. This amazing opportunity will change the winner’s life, as it did ours. I would love nothing more than to see Island Whole Foods continue to nourish the supportive community on Phillip Island.
“We are aware of the many outcomes the prize may be taken however the winner of this amazing opportunity doesn’t have to accept the prize if they don’t feel fit to run a café. Alternate option for the winner includes selling the cafe to one of the many interested individuals (which you can discuss with us), or taking the cash and assets as the rent is paid for until the current lease ends.’
Laura says raffling off the café will allow their family to follow another passion.
“With our love for adventure, the outdoors and the ocean, my husband and I have always planned to travel Australia when our kids were young, to really embrace this fundamental time together as a family.
“On our travels, we want to work with organisations like Take 3 for the Sea to help educate communities on the importance of living sustainably and protecting our oceans. And also share our minimalistic life, plant-based recipes and knowledge we gain along the way.”
Laura plans to document the family’s adventure on a blog theavocadotribe.com.au
If you are interested in entering the raffle visit www.islandwholefoods.com.au for further details.