When a teenage Sam Reid took on her first part time job at Bakers Delight in Hastings (Victoria) a decade ago, operating a bakery of her own was the furthest thing from her mind.
Sam readily admits she was always a chatty person and although she had always dreamed of doing something with horses as a career, her Bakers Delight experience soon showed her she really enjoyed interacting with people.
“I was very nervous as a young kid and I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career or what I wanted to do after year 12,” she said. “Starting at the bakery was good as I was quite chatty but it was not what I thought I would be doing long term, but once I made the decision to work more full time hours, I really enjoyed the customer service side of things.”
While she may not have seen her potential as a future bakery owner, her employers (Phil and Kim) certainly did and were only too happy to encourage her professional growth.
“Sam was always very reliable and in this business that is a huge bonus,” said Phil. “She showed initiative and leadership very early on and when we wanted to relieve a bit of pressure on our Sales Manager, Sam was the first one to put up her hand.”
When Phil and Kim eventually sold the Hastings bakery, Sam moved over to their Somerville store where she became even more immersed in the bakery’s operation.
“I really loved to learn and to grow and every time I mastered something I wanted to know more about the baking and then the money side of the business,” she said. “I was fortunate to be supported by Kim and Phil who were happy to give me more jobs and greater responsibility before eventually giving me the opportunity to do some management training.”
By now, Phil and Kim could clearly see Sam’s potential as a future business owner and encouraged her to challenge herself further by nominating her for a Gillespie Award.
“We nominated Sam for the award because we wanted to keep her engaged – if you don’t invest in the growth of your staff, there is a fair chance they will get bored and move on,” said Phil.
“Developing and encouraging staff to become a Franchisee also provides you with an exit strategy (if that is what you want) and delivers more competent workers who have better job satisfaction.”
Sam excelled through the Award program and soon after, bought the Somerville bakery from Phil and Kim, to officially commence her new career as a small business owner. Since then, she has refurbished her bakery and built up a large and loyal customer base, which has seen her experience some significant sales growth.
“I am proud of everything I have achieved…..and it takes a lot for me to say that because I always want to achieve more!” said Sam.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be in this position at 27, not just financially but also in terms of the self-confidence I have developed along the way.”
“If you are determined and persistent and can take feedback to learn and grow from the experience and are wanting to better yourself, I would say do it. If you are willing to put in that effort, oh my god it is amazing!”
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