As Easter approaches, the smell of hot bread rolls is already wafting through the air at Queen Victoria Market thanks to Lawrence Lathouras’ Andrew’s Bread Shop stall.
Featuring a wide range of traditional fruit, gluten-free, chocolate, spelled and sourdough options, the bakery knows exactly how to tap into what its customers are looking for – a skill Lawrence has learned over time from his father.
“My dad bought the shop over 30 years ago when he was a delivery driver for the bakery, then when my parents were selling the shop I told them not to,” he said.
Not always seeing owning a bakery as being in his future, Lawrence was struck by the realization that he “always thought [the shop] would be in the family.
“It was then about realizing that if we wanted this to stay in the family, I would have to work there,” he said.
Today at the head of the family business, it has been nearly nine years since Lawrence gave up his career as an electrician.
He considered “very loyal customers” and “being part of a community” as the reasons he made the final decision to own the shop.
“A lot of merchants are second or third generation, or they used to work at another store in QVM and found out another store was on sale. Market shops rarely go to a foreigner because market people snatch them up,” he said.
The customers are probably the main reason because you get to know them very well and sometimes they don’t even have to tell me what they want.
In tune with what his customers still crave, Lawrence has recently noticed the trend of people switching from white bread to more health-conscious alternatives.
This led him to decide to now maintain a well-stocked shop stocked with gluten-free bread and various sourdough and dark rye breads among the many other popular options he sources from local vendors.
“I have a wide range of breads from the Middle East as they are very popular at the moment. Iraqi bread, Lebanese bread, Turkish bread, all different focaccia with olives, feta, cheese and garlic, and flatbreads seem to be very popular,” Lawrence said.
Although he has clearly seen the business gain popularity through the Queen Victoria Market online business, which he was grateful for during the lockdown, the idea of expanding beyond QVM does not interest him.
Happy to keep the stand local and small, as he has noticed bakeries lose quality when they choose to expand, Lawrence said his priority remains to ensure he “chooses all the best things meticulously”. for its customers.
Something that saw locals rush to his stall on the Thursday before Easter, to ensure they got their hands on one of the 300-400 hot rolls sold at Andrew’s Bread Shop that day.
Because when the quality is there, it is sometimes difficult to say no.
Andrew’s Bread Shop is located in the Dairy Produce Hall •
For more information: qvm.com.au