Kent Street bakery dropped by Caltex

Kent Street Bakery employees Danielle Wilson, Colleen Hayley and Chloe McSwain are seeing less pies leave the door after Caltex stopped ordering from the store.
Kent Street Bakery employees Danielle Wilson, Colleen Hayley and Chloe McSwain are seeing less pies leave the door after Caltex stopped ordering from the store.

Kent Street Bakery is the latest South West business to come forward after being shunned by Caltex when the petroleum company took over from the former franchisee.

The bakery was supplying the petrol station with 500 to 600 pies each week, along with bread and sushi, when the petrol giant stopped placing orders.

Kent Street Bakery manager Liz Jacob said the weeks leading up to the takeover had been a stressful time for the store managers.

Ms Jacob said she was asked by Caltex if they had a particular accreditation, which the business did not have, and put their case forward that the bakery was council approved.

“One day they never ordered again, we had been delivering orders daily to the store since February 2016,” she said.

“We also put in our case that we support the community by employing 22 local people, I do not ever think it was an option for them that we would continue.”

Ms Jacob said the impact on their business was huge and they were now baking a lot less pies, which had affected their bakers because the turnover of product had gone down dramatically.

“I am a big believer of, ‘if it is not broken don’t try and fix it,’ we had such a successful relationship with Caltex and people used to go there just for our food,” she said.

“They are just streamlining how they do their business, it is not very good at all, we are waiting to see what changes we may have to make at the bakery.”

Ms Jacob said the company should support local businesses, and while she understood they wanted to streamline their paperwork, what they were doing did not support the community.

“They want us to support them, when they have come in and taken all the business away from local people in the blink of an eye,” she said.

“That is corporate business, they have come into a small town and I think they should appreciate that the store is not on the freeway to Perth, it is a personal situation which affects people in the community.

“You get the flow-on from there which is a real shame, people will just have to come into the bakery to get a pie.”

A Caltex spokesperson said their approach was generally state-based and focused on ensuring reliable supply to 112 stores across WA.

The spokesperson said for the provision of essentials such as ice, gas, bakery and food products they used WA based companies. 

“While we employ local staff and continue to be open to working with local organisations where they can meet our needs,” the spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately we don’t currently have any supply agreements with Busselton-based organisations.”

​​Last week, the Mail reported that Busselton Ice Supply were also told by Caltex they no longer required their products because they were now shipping frozen bags of ice from Perth.

Mr Maisey said the company had been less than helpful despite being told there were no complaints about their product, service or price which he was supplying 50 cents a bag cheaper.

“Generally speaking, when people pick up a bag of ice – it is a bag of ice as far as they are concerned - but in Busselton we have ice being brought down some 250 kilometres away,” he said.

“I went into another store and looked in their freezer, the ice comes from Queensland.

“We are here making it, this is ridiculous they should be looking at regional based suppliers, we just want to see our product in local stores.”

Shadow minister for small business Libby Mettam said it was essential that as consumers we showed support to local businesses that supported local suppliers and jobs.

Ms Mettam said in tough economic times it was tempting for operators to look outside the region for cheaper mass produced products.

“Such decisions must be balanced against the value of supporting local industry,” she said.