Visitors to Berry often comment on the friendly service of the shopkeepers and that it’s like coming to a proper little country town… and complete with country-style treats such as Anzac biscuits and homemade toffees, the Treat Factory exemplifies what’s special about shopping in Berry.
Located in the old butter factory at the end of Creamery Lane, The Treat Factory provides a unique shopping and tourism experience. One section of the company, labelled ‘The Treat Factory’, is a large retail shop with floor-to-ceiling racks of over 150 varieties of pickles, sauces, jams and preserves, chocolates (made on the premises) and all sorts of other confectionary. The section called ‘The Warehouse’ is really much more a food emporium, a gourmet food store with a huge inventory of whole foods, bulk foods, cereals, nuts, pasta, herbs, spices, sauces including an Asian section, nuts and nibbles, hard-to-find ingredients, glassware, bakewear, books and a large selection of cake-decorating needs. As the Treat Factory buys many of these items in bulk for its own production, it is able to repackage them in smaller quantities and pass the price advantage of bulk purchasing on to customers.
In 2013 the company has won two prestigious Shoalhaven Business Excellence awards, Best Retail Tourist Experience 2013 and Best Small Business 2013. It is a family-owned business whose knowhow in preserves dates back 50-60 years. Some of its products are distributed throughout Australia under The Treat Factory label, among best-sellers being their chilli Jam, tomato sauce and mustard pickle.
A major side of the business is chocolates and confectionary. “Our Rocky Road is absolutely fresh”, notes Karin Maxwell. “It has no preservatives and we make a new batch every week.” The Treat Factory obtains its chocolate from the highest-quality source in the world, Ghana, where the owners recently were given a ‘Cooks Tour’ of raw chocolate production.
Chocolate-making demonstrations at The Treat Factory are available by appointment for groups of 20 and over; if you’re a small party visiting Berry you may be able to piggyback on a larger group if you phone and check availability. During school holiday times chocolate-making classes for children are conducted 2-3 days a week (3 classes a day); these are very popular and are booked out quickly.
The Treat Factory prides itself on its annual accreditation under HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), a protocol employed in Australia/New Zealand that stipulates standards throughout the production process to insure quality and safety of products. The company has won a score of awards at the Royal Easter Show, with several dozen award certificates proudly displayed in the retail shop.
The staff always enjoy looking after customers, especially those who need assistance of any kind with their shopping, something that has endeared them to both locals and the busloads of visitors from out of town.