“Pretty much everything happens for a reason, and now I know why that happened to me.”
Every business start-up has an amazing story behind it. People leave whole careers behind, punt all of their life savings, and bravely step into the unknown for little more than passion and love of the game.
However, it’s fair to say that Maria Faalafi has had a journey a little more exceptional than most. Several years ago, Maria found herself in the hospital emergency room, crippled with severe migraines and digestive issues.
After years and years in pain, she had also begun to suffer panic attacks and depression that were so bad she was forced to quit her job as an engineering drafter and spend most of her time bedridden. And as they say, when it rains, it pours: around the time Maria left her role, her husband lost his carpentry job also, leaving them with a mortgage, health costs, and an uncertain future.
But, as it often does, food came to the rescue.
Maria took her health into her own hands and decided to completely change her diet. With experimentation and research, she came to realise she was suffering a severe gluten intolerance and hyperglycaemia, both conditions that are managed with major dietary changes.
It was this newfound expertise with clean, organic food that inspired Maria and her husband to open up a cafe in Brisbane’s West End. But as they set up a commercial kitchen to prepare the food (and comply with the stringent commercial food prep laws) they realised another, more exciting, concept had emerged: a commercial kitchen for rent.
“I wanted to trial our (cafe) product before opening anything,” explains Maria. “…and I thought maybe I can rent out our kitchen to other people like me.”
“But we actually realised that the commercial kitchen was more of what we wanted to do.”
And so The Greenhive Kitchen (previously Green Bee Organics) was born.
The concept took off with an unexpected rate of success, so much so, that Maria is moving the business from West End to a larger St Lucia venue that can host three times the amount of renters.
And all of this was made possible with the help of Silver Chef.
“I used Silver Chef to rent pretty much all of the equipment in the initial set-up,” says Maria. “And then I bought some of it off, and now I am renting again. Everytime I need new equipment, I go through Silver Chef.”
“It would have been too hard for us otherwise. Silver Chef made it possible for us to start.”
To date, Maria has purchased a six burner cooktop, secondhand planetary mixer, six tray self-cooking centre, blast chiller freezer, undercounter dishwasher, two burner cooktop on stand and a food processor. Still on rent is the stainless steel bench, secondhand bowl cutter, a second single door upright freezer and a secondhand vacuum sealer.
As her offering evolved, Maria has also taken advantage of the easy Silver Chef return policy, opting to give back her vegetable cutting machine, secondhand single door upright freezer, and glass cake display.
From cooking classes to small Australian start-ups who can’t afford a full commercial kitchen, Maria sees the success of The Greenhive Kitchen in it’s flexible nature.
“It’s probably one third cooking classes, one third wholesalers, and one third people trying out going to market,” says Maria, noting that the ability to ‘try before you buy’ is a blessing for anyone wanting to road test their concepts before launching to market.
Looking forward to the future, Maria sees the Greenhive Kitchen concept growing.
“We are starting renovations in about a week, and are looking to move in a month or so.” Will she be using Silver Chef into the future? “Absolutely!”
Silver Chef is exceptionally proud to have partnered with Maria, and we are so excited to see what’s next for Greenhive Kitchen. Another great reminder of how we can turn dreams into reality, or in this case, turn a whole life around.
The Greenhive Kitchen
The licensed commercial kitchen is available to hire by the hour on a casual or permanent basis. It is fully equipped to help people start their food business dream right away. The hourly rate includes power, gas, water, high quality appliances, cookware, utensils, cleaning chemicals and temporary food storage (up to 24 hours free). If permanent storage is needed, dry, fridge and freezer food storage can be provided for an extra fee.