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Small Businesses of Broken Hill – Dawson’s Bakehouse

By Dylan J. Stone

As you pass through the doors of the Broken Hill Plaza, the scent of freshly baked bread leads you straight to Dawsons Bakehouse.

Brent and Mel Dawson opened the Bakehouse in 2020 and will celebrate their second anniversary in business on October 8 with some giveaways and other promotions.

Brent is not a newcomer to this business or to this industry. His father owned and operated a bakery, and so he’s spent most of his life in this industry before opening in Broken Hill.

When Dawson’s Bakehouse opened, Brent and Mel’s dream was to contribute back to the community. Brent watched his father help other people who were on the verge of collapse, so he often provides generous donations of bread and products to many local charities and sporting groups.

“Even when times are tough, you need to help the community, because it’s the community that will support you at the end of the day,” Brett says as I tour the bakery.

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Brent’s vision is grounded in his approach to operate his business to ‘make a living, not make millions.’

By purchasing locally owned stock and Australian-made products where possible, as opposed to cheaper imported alternatives, he can ensure the bakery produces a high-quality product that is reasonably priced for the customer.

Very generously, Dawson’s Bakehouse also provides options for customers to purchase in bulk, thereby providing a discount for larger families.

Despite the Dawsons’ generous community support, they deal with the same challenges that every local small business deals with.

Principally, the cost of living and inflation have increased the expenses of operating the bakery significantly, and without passing these costs onto the customers, the bakery will need to absorb those price rises.

“Due to the cost-of-living pressures, people want cheaper alternatives,” says Mel, but this is difficult to deliver because the Bakery “wants to provide quality products which often cost more to make than cheaper, lower-quality alternatives.”

Finding the balance between meeting the cost-of-living pressures that consumers are facing, without reducing the quality of products has been the most significant challenge facing the Bakery.

Despite the challenges, Brent and Mel say they have no regrets about opening a business in Broken Hill, and Brent adds if you intend on going into business, make sure, “you have the passion for it because there will be a lot of obstacles.”

Mel adds, ‘”it can be very difficult if you don’t enjoy it, but if you like what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Brent’s final piece of advice is fitting, that ‘family run businesses should always support the community.’

It’s clear Brent and Mel follow their own advice, and there are many groups and organisations in Broken Hill who can vouch for the generosity the Dawsons show in their business.

Now get down there and get yourself some top locally baked items, and say hi to the Dawsons.

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