By Claire Ottaviano
A DESIRE to grow and the ability to adapt in a changing world saw a Swan Valley small business join tourism heavy weights at this year’s State tourism awards.
The House of Honey and its Sticky Spoon Café took out gold this month in the Tourism Retail and Hire Services category of the 2021 WA Tourism Awards.
Owners Kim and Rupert Phillips opened the business in 2010 to showcase honey and the amazing world of bees.
Now the pair have 26 staff and 500 hives that move around the State depending on the season.
“I always say to our staff, one of the most important things to us is when people walk out of our shop, inside that paper bag has to be an experience, some education and really good customer service,” Ms Phillips said.
“Everyone has to have their bag full of all those things, not just honey.”
The past two years through COVID have been a humbling experience for the business which had to adapt to not only survive but thrive.
“A big part of our market had collapsed,” Ms Phillips said.
“Sixty per cent was national and interstate and although we depended heavily on local, we always had a healthy combination, then two-thirds of our market wasn’t coming over anymore.
“We developed our café to make it more appealing to locals, we updated our menu, started bee safari tours and candle making workshops.
“People always wanted to do that with us but we never had the time to organise it so the two years in COVID we’ve been able to dedicate more time to it and get it polished.”
Throwing themselves into the tourism sector and jumping on board with local events such as the City of Swan’s Entwined in the Valley also helped the self-starters to grow and learn more about the industry.
Congratulations also goes to Sin Gin Distillery based at Swan Settlers Markets for taking out bronze in the Tourism Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries category and to Pickering Brook’s Core Cider House for taking out a gold in the Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services category and a silver for Excellence in Food Tourism.