A few years ago, a key member of the Beenleigh community mentioned to me that they were forming a Logan Tourism Association. I said to him, “that’s a great idea”. I secretly said to myself “you have to be kidding!” I honestly thought why would a tourist come to Beenleigh or Logan?! At that point in time, I really had just come into Beenleigh to run our business and gone back home. Our business had largely been wholesale and we didn’t actually have any customers in the area. We had, however, recently expanded (in 2011) into the unit next door which was fortunately owned by the same landlord.
We had never had any intention to have a retail shop there, especially after already owning a café/shop. However, we needed the extra space and we figured if we could sell enough to cover the rent from the premises, then we’d be happy!
However, it opened a new world to Poppy’s and as I started to attend Chamber of Commerce breakfast meetings, I met an entire community of amazing people that make up the Beenleigh and Logan community. They all want to help and they all had some great businesses. There was a plethora of places to visit that would interest tourists. Strawberry farm, prawn farm, winery, Kingston Park raceway, great parks, bungee jumping, Holden performance car centre and of course Chocolates.
So, we slowly morphed into being a tourist destination without ever having it on our plans. If you visit us, you will see this with our layout. We certainly aren’t some fancy chocolate place that has been purpose built to wow you with our layout and expensive shopfitting. We are a real fair dinkum chocolate making business that lets you have a view into our soul. Our focus is on our chocolates which have to be the thing to impress our customers, not our furniture and shelving.
Our old office turned into a lunch room when we expanded. I stood in the lunch room one day and thought this was not a very good use of my rent. I decided to knock a hole in the wall and let customers come down into the old office and watch the chocolatiers make the chocolates. I renamed it our “Viewing Room”.
Customers started asking if they could have a tour or a talk about chocolate. So, we gave them what they wanted. We can’t take people into the factory due to Health and Safety regulations but they can see almost all of it through the windows. So, we started a choc’n’chat for groups of 10 or more. We soon learned people loved this too.
Buses started arriving and now we have several buses per week. We love being a tourist destination, a hidden gem amongst all the car mechanics of Beenleigh! It still surprises me that we are a tourist destination but I do love finding out where people come from and many travel just to come and see us.