Local business owners are such a big part of the community so we thought we do a series of quick fire Q&A’s with some of them while they are at work. Today we popped into have a quick chat with Dilan Samathilake who runs Miss Spelt’s Grains & Goodies in Healesville with his lovely wife Michelle Collins. Hope you enjoy reading a little about Dylan and Michelle’s business.
When did you start your business Miss Spelt’s Grains & Goodies?
The business Miss Spelt’s has been open for 8 years in total but we took over running it in September 2018.
How did your business Miss Spelt’s Grains & Goodies come about?
Michelle was a secondary teacher for quite a while but she always had an interest in nutrition and wanted to start something up related to health food. Michelle had previously completed a course in nutritionist so when we noticed that Miss Spelt’s health food store was up for sale on Gumtree, we decided to buy it. We took over running it in September 2018 when it was located in a smaller building just down the road.
Intially Michelle ran the business on her own and I kept working full time at my job. We needed a bigger building so on the 1st of October 2019 we moved to the shop we are currently in now. Michelle had staff that helped her run the shop, but when we decided to open up the Bulk Food store next door, I decided to quit my job and help Michelle build up the business.
What do you sell at Miss Spelt’s Grains & Goodies?
We focus on selling high quality wholefoods and eco friendly products. We sell allergy friendly foods (gluten, dairy sugar, wheat, nut, egg, yeast free). We also stock only fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate and coconut products.
Recently we opened up a bulk food store next door that sells different types of grains, legumes, dried fruit, seeds, flour, nuts, olive oil and eco friendly cleaning products. There is no minimum to how much you can buy in the bulk food store. You can bring your own containers/bottles to save on packaging too.
We also sell vegan dog food and stock a beautiful skin care range. We focus on providing high quality health foods and great customer service.
You have recently just opened up Miss Spelt’s Bulk Food Store, can you tell us why you started it?
We are very passionate at Miss Spelt’s about creating zero waste, eco-friendly and sustainable living and that’s why we decided to spread our wings and start a bulk food store along side our existing health food store in the main street of Healesville.
We all have to understand that zero waste is more than just getting rid of plastic bags. It’s about food miles and the distance your food travelled to get to your plate. That is why we are keeping our ingredients mostly Australian grown and local as possible. Having access to a local bulk food store also means that you can save on fuel and Co2 emissions.
One of the other main reasons for starting our bulk food store was to reduce packaging. We believe it is better to reuse your ordinary day to day containers and glass bottles as this has a bigger impact towards our planet’s future. Recycled plastic still uses a lot of coal in the process so using your own containers and buying in bulk helps save on packaging, which is a great thing for the environment and sustainability of our precious planet.
By choosing to buy in bulk and reusing your own containers, not only can you buy as much or as little as you need, you are also making a difference in the world.
Over the past two years, we realised that we are surrounded by an environmentally conscious local community and a beautiful Valley that is worth protecting. Having this opportunity to bring a zero-waste experience to Yarra Valley is truly a dream come true. The bulk store opened on the 22nd of September 2020 and has been well received by the community.
What do you love most about running your business?
This business is not just a business to us. What we are tying to create is a co-creation ecosystem where we work with other businesses and the community to help each other out.
It is very important to us to help out those in the community. At Miss Spelts, we identify local charities that are in need of assistance and deal with the charity directly to make sure the donations we make go directly to the charity.
Every three months we choose a worthy charity in the area. In May Miss Spelts Grains & Goodies joined forces with Healesville Inter-Church Community Care Inc (HICCI) and the wonderful crew at Chachi to provide 40 members of the community with a delicious meal. We provided all the ingredients for the meals and Chachi cooked up the meals.
We also helped out a charity in June called Stable One. The charity provides a winter shelter for the homeless and is located in Launching Place. Our contribution to the charity this year was to fill up their pantry for the 12 people that were living in the shelter for the duration of winter.
We believe that when we help and support each other out in the community it creates a circle effect.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
It’s not just about running a business these days. It’s also about managing customer safety and staff safety due to all the COVID regulations. The hardest thing at the moment is keeping up with the constant changes and managing everyone’s expectations.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to others about running your own business?
When you start running your own business you should re-invest in the business for the first 4 years. It’s not about taking cash out of your business at the start, it is about re-investing back into your business to build it up into something great.
What do you like most about the Yarra Valley?
Healesville is a beautiful town with a beautiful community. It’s a really environmentally conscious community which appeals to us. People love their plastic free lifestyles. They love the earth and like to know where their food is sourced from. You don’t get that so much in the city. The atmosphere in the Valley is very different to the city and we love it.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has every given you?
My Dad told me to find the right boss, not the right job. When you find the right boss then you find your mentor. I found that person when I was 21. He trusted in me and taught me a lot of important things.
Thank you Dilan for giving us 5 minutes of your time and sharing a little bit about you and Michelle’s business Miss Spelt’s Grains & Goodies. It was lovely chatting to you.