When Geelong-local Haley Stratton travelled to far north Queensland in a campervan, she was won over by the freewheeling spirit of van life. Then when she took a job as a barista in Melbourne, a love of hospitality began to blossom.
At just eighteen, business-savvy Haley combined her two passions. She converted her trusty campervan into a mobile coffee van with the help of her handy father. In the thirteen years since, she has travelled from Geelong all across Australia – popping up for events, royal shows and, of course, to chase the sun. Now, her business has expanded into a fleet of four vans serving not just coffee, but also delicious, handmade donuts.
Tracking an impressive timeline, Haley runs Miss Loves A Coffee, Miss Loves A Donut and Miss Loves A Catering, a comprehensive mobile café. She is followed by a crowd of dedicated donut-lovers, who have affectionately titled her business ‘Donuts on Tour’. Like ebony and ivory, coffee and donuts are clearly just meant to be together – something Haley knows better than anyone.
“There is no happiness like someone’s first coffee in the morning. You can turn someone’s bad morning into a happy one with that first sip. And who doesn’t want a coffee and donut together? They go hand in hand,” she says.
Hailing from a family of business owners, Haley has spent years mastering both coffee and donut-making. Cutting her teeth in Melbourne’s world-class coffee scene, she knows the ins and outs of a smooth latte made quickly. Her team makes all their donuts on the day, plunging them each by hand, and are committed to giving their customers only the best. It’s no wonder locals come in droves for the ultimate morning (or afternoon) pick me up.
“Unlike your standard franchise shop, all of our donuts are served hot and straight from the donut fryer, so they are fluffy and melt in your mouth with each bite. One donut is never enough,” explains Haley.
Depending on your mood, you can indulge in a classic cinnamon or jam-filled donut, otherwise Haley recommends their delicious salted caramel or Nutella donuts. Washed down by locally roasted Capra Coffee from Geelong, there’s truly no better way to get through lockdown.
Like most small business owners, COVID-19 has presented huge challenges for Haley and her team. With all her events cancelled across a six-month period, she has been forced to try new ways of working. Rather than pulling the vans off the road, Haley has partnered with local businesses in the outer Geelong regions to provide locals with the hot, fresh donuts they need. The business provides the place to park; she provides the donuts. A damn good trade.
“I was blown away with how many businesses were more than happy to help us. We are locals and we love Geelong. If we can work alongside other businesses to help them as well in these uncertain times, and bring some excitement to their business, we love this.”
Towns like Lara, Colac, Mt Duneed and Armstrong Creek are the lucky ones to play host to Miss Loves A Catering. For the locals getting through this particularly gloomy winter, fresh donuts and hot coffee will certainly be a very warm, very welcome addition.
Stay tuned to Miss Loves A Catering Facebook page for regular location updates, as well as donut competitions!
Written by Tehya Nicholas