'It blew our minds': Hard-hit business finds southern solution

Jess Thomas, on behalf of her House of Travel Alexandra colleagues, wishes to thank the community...
Jess Thomas, on behalf of her House of Travel Alexandra colleagues, wishes to thank the community for its support during the company's cheese rolls fundraiser. Photo: Alexia Johnston
Cheese rolls have proven to be a recipe for success in propping up wages for an industry in need of support.

The end result – $11,500.

House of Travel Otago managing director-owner John Harley was forced to reduce his staff’s hours to 60% in the wake of Covid-19, after New Zealand’s border was closed in March.

Suddenly, with spare time on their hands, the staff at House of Travel Alexandra launched their cheese rolls fundraiser to add some much needed money to the coffers.

They sold the popular filled bread delicacy by the dozen about 1800 dozen made with the help of friends and family.

Jess Thomas, who led the team’s fundraising project, was pleased they could do something for Mr Harley, whom she described as “a great boss”.

The end result exceeded expectations, she said.

“Thank you so much to the community. It’s been amazing to have this support and the awareness it has created has been amazing,” she said.

“It blew our minds how many orders we got.”

She said the team, which is still on 60%, went into the project knowing other groups had sold about 900 dozen in previous years.

So, with a gap in the market, they figured they might sell about 1000 dozen.

Instead, they almost doubled that figure and were pleased to have put their spare time towards the cause.

“We just feel good that we were doing something in a pretty bad situation,” Mrs Thomas said.


I lived in Dunedin for 2 years. Never heard of cheese rolls until then. Been living in Hamilton for the last 7 years. I miss many things about Otago, but I especially miss these. Well done guys 👌



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