By Eve Jeffery
Working in retail as a Buyer in Chicago and Cape Town, Kathy Quinn was looking for something else to do when she came up with a random idea to start a cookie business.
‘Liking to bake cookies was my only qualification,’ said Kathy. ‘I quit my job and started baking cookies from my kitchen – in no time at all we had a full-on operation from my house with local women helping. We sold to shops all over Cape Town.’
After her son was born in 2000, she and partner Darren sold the cookie business and headed to NZ where they spent ten years.
The next stop was Mullum where Kathy taught yoga, until buying The Mullumbimby Chocolate Shop three years ago – and she’s loving it.
Kathy says the shop is an experience for the customers. ‘They have so many memories! They love how it reminds them of when they were younger and used to go to the corner store to buy lollies for 5 cents. They love the Lolly and Chocolate Bar and how you get to choose lollies, just like in the old days. The red and white stripey bags are still a big hit too – I think for many people it brings back a bit of nostalgia.’
To be on the safe side, Kathy closed the shop during the isolation period because of the sheer number of people, in particular children, that come into the shop at one time. ‘It’s so great being back open.’
There are lots of yummy things at the shop apart from lollies. Kathy has added a lot of new products to the assortment that caters to a really wide variety of tastes. ‘Although we have traditionally been known as “The Lolly Shop” which I love, we have got a lot of chocolate, with an entire wall dedicated just to chocolate. It includes quality bulk chocolate covered fruits and nuts, liquorice, along with chocolate bars and blocks, truffles and fudge.
‘We also carry a large range of Dutch and traditional liquorices. We also have one of the largest assortments of vegan lollies and chocolates in the area, along with gluten-free, sugar-free and organic too.’
Kathy says she is about to launch an online shop, and she has recently added soft-serve yogurt to her stock. ‘We have vanilla and double chocolate that is both dairy and gluten-free, and you can choose from over 100 toppings from our lolly and chocolate bar.’
Kathy says there is so many things to love about her work. ‘I love that it allows me to be creative, I am constantly thinking of new ways to improve the shop to make it more fun, or a new product to try. I love meeting all the different people that come from all over, as well as interacting with all the kids that come into the shop after school. It’s probably the best job I’ve ever had!’