• Marwa Makool founded the mecca of Middle Eastern cuisine in Melbourne: Oasis Bakery. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Oasis bakery in Melbourne's south east is a destination for food-lovers of every variety.
Small Business Secrets

SBS Small Business Secrets
3 Apr 2017 - 10:44 AM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2018 - 12:32 PM

Started in a rundown cafe by Lebanese migrant Marwa Makool in 1998, her and her family have built their business into an empire of Middle Eastern cuisine, groceries and treats.

When she first started, Marwa could barely speak English and worked at capacity to keep the business afloat.

“The first year, was a nightmare. I used to work, 19-20 hours, and after I closed the shop, I used to get on my knees and clean the shop - I'm a cleaning fanatic.”

She was driven by a love of cooking and her passion for sharing Middle Eastern food with the world.

“I start to cook, and this is how I start to find myself… I want to show the world, it's beautiful to do something from your heart.”

Today, Oasis spans across 7000 square metres of land, and sees many cultures from different walks of life exploring the aisles.

“If you walk between the shelves, you hear, like, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, Australian - why I created the food was to make it easier for everyone to have.”

She’s also passed down her business acumen and love of food to her sons.

George Makool is also an owner of the business, and has been learning the trade from a young age.

“[I started] working in the bakery section, on the pita bread line, with dad, back then. I was, I think, 8 or 9 years old,” George says.

“I love the challenge of the business side of things, and i love creating new things, creating an experience for people that they wouldn't normally get anywhere else. People walk in here and they're like, 'wow, this is great', because we're creating that experience for them, and we want to keep pushing those boundaries.”

Oasis Bakery recently launched a pop-up café to test the market, and plan to expand to host weddings in an upstairs function room.

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