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Australian Bakery to Close

By Nancy Leighton
Kangaroos outfitted in red halters bounce out ahead of Santa Claus in a painting on the windows of the Australian Bakery in the East Atlanta Village. Inside are delicious Australian baked goods that Australians and Americans love to eat, but can only be found in a few places in the United States.
After eight years in the East Atlanta Village the Australian Bakery will be closing its doors at the end of the year. Proprietor Mark Allen says the business is financially sound, but the lease of the premises will not be renewed for another year. Mr. Allen has been told that the East Atlanta Animal Clinic will be expanding into that space.
Mark Allen and his business partner, Neville Steel, started their Australian Bakery on Marietta Square in December of 2001. The two men knew each other since they were boys in the small town of Boort, Victoria. When they grew up they each independently decided to enter an apprenticeship program for a career in the baking industry. They met up again while attending the bakery school. Later they ran a café together in the Australian town of Bendigo, Victoria.
Someone in a specialty trade like baking can always find a job. When Mr. Allen came to the United States in 1991 he worked in the corporate food industry. He started making Australian meat pies and presenting them at events where they were well received.
In 1999 Neville Steel visited his old friend here in Georgia. The two men discussed creating a new business here to make Australian baked goods. By 2001 they were ready to open their business. In their facility in Marietta they do all the production baking. They also have a thriving catering and mail order business of their products.
They began to notice that many people from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa living in the Atlanta metro area were showing up in Marietta to buy large quantities of their pies. Within a few years they decided it would be a good idea to have a retail store closer to downtown Atlanta. In 2004, they opened the Australian Bakery in East Atlanta. Mr. Allen likes to tell how Australians living in the U.S. sometimes end up with a layover at the Atlanta Airport. While they are waiting, they manage to find their way to East Atlanta. When they leave his store they are carrying packages of dozens of goodies exactly like they remember from home.
Mr. Allen and Mr. Steel would like to find another place to open the Australian Bakery again. They’d like to stay in the East Atlanta Village, as they like the walkable shopping district with residential so close by. It is convenient to I-20 for all those visitors trying to make a quick bakery run and has worked out very well for them. They will spend the next four months and beyond looking for a new location. In the meantime they are also considering to possibility of having another Australian bakery somewhere in Tennessee.

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