Out of 15,000 businesses operating in the City of Melton, 27 finalists were selected across nine categories. Pecks Road was the clear winner, having received the 2023 Mayoral Achievement Award. The 16th Melton Business Excellence Awards program recognises local businesses and their contributions to the City of Melton.
There’s something in the air at Pecks Road. Every time I’ve visited (OK, this is a weekly occurrence), there’s a sense of warmth and anticipation. The room is brimming with positivity as well as possibilities. The energy is infectious. The Filo-Scandi design of the space features light and airy interiors with exposed concrete finishes and warm wooden wall cladding, reminiscent of their Lola’s (grandmother’s) house in the Philippines. The three drop-down pendant lights found in front of the wooden feature wall represent the three Lawang brothers. Due to its placement, it symbolises an equal partnership backed by generations past – an ode to their roots. It is understated, inviting and completely unpretentious – much like its owners.
Speaking to Albin Lawang on a rainy Monday afternoon, you can tell how passionate and proud he is of opening up a brick-and-mortar shop in a post-lockdown environment together with his brothers. The adage of never going into business with family is successfully subverted. Pecks Road is a testament to the solid bonds of brotherhood, of family.
‘We work well together, we’ve never really disagreed over anything, and we play to our strengths, ’ quips Albin. Indeed, their strengths complement each other. AJ, the art director, created the logos, menu and marketing branding. Arbi, the photographer and videographer, creates the content for all their socials and Albin, a personal trainer and chef, runs day-to-day operations and makes their exquisite doughnuts.
Pecks Road Cheat Meals initially started as an online business with an operational model of securing pre-orders prior to production. ‘The initial plan was to wait for three years before taking the plunge, but due to the overwhelming community support, we decided to do it after just one year.’ Albin humbly states. ‘We were operating out of a commercial kitchen in North Melbourne and getting charged by the hour. As orders came pouring in, it was time to take it to the next level.’ Albin continues.
This was when the Lawang brothers, after careful consideration, decided to take the plunge and go for it with no holds barred. They were scouting for a site just off the Western Highway, near St Burgs, another successful Filipino-Australian business. However, the landlord had a different site in mind. Springlake shopping centre was proposed. They took one look at the place, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Albin’s background is both in hospitality and personal training. ‘A healthy lifestyle goes beyond physical fitness goals. To me, it’s where fitness and indulgence have an affinity with one another.’ He started back in 2015 working at various restaurants across metropolitan Melbourne.
’I wanted to learn as much as I could. The big picture dream was to always open one myself, but I can only do that once I’ve been there.’ says Albin. In the trenches, doing grunt work and understanding what to do and not do were his greatest teachers. Due to his wealth of experience, pivoting during the lockdowns, as well as coming up with creative means to reach their growing customer base, proved his mettle. ‘You can be easily locked into paralysis by analysis – you know, overthinking things until the moment to strike has passed you by – that’s one thing I’ve learned to not be afraid to take the risk. Growth always comes with its own challenges, but we’ve always looked towards what inspires us, where do we see this going,’ states Albin.
Going into their product offerings, the artisan doughnuts are something to write home about. (Full disclosure: I was one of their online customers during the lockdown) If you’ve read my previous articles, you would know I am absolutely mad about ube. Their version includes ‘purple yeast-raised doughnut, filled with ube pastry cream, ube whipped cream, dipped in ube glaze finally topped by meringue shards and edible flowers.’ This, in my humble opinion, is the queen of all their doughnuts, their constant best seller. I’ve consumed dozens as of writing this, and they never disappoint.
The Nutella and Biscoff Buns come a close second – they are filled with flavour, no skimping on the Nutella or the Biscoff biscuits, and invite you to indulge every single time. My five-year-old prefers his Strawberry OG, ‘a yeast-raised doughnut dipped in strawberry glaze, topped with white chocolate.’ They also offer savoury options – the Truffle Mushroom Toastie and Pecks Road Reuben are runaway best sellers. The composition is finely balanced and creatively nuanced. The synergy of flavours leaves you with a mouth-watering bite every single time.
They also have monthly offerings, borne out of Albin’s notebook, these monthly drops look towards what’s in season as well as what’s the current landscape. July’s one features the Ooray, their NAIDOC doughnut, ‘using native Australian ingredients sourced from an Indigenous company, Warndu, based in South Australia.’
Aside from being a retailer, they also offer wholesale options to different cafes and restaurants. They’ve also collaborated with different entities, from Leon’s Smash Burgers to Kariton Sorbetes, another Filipino-Australian business operating out of Footscray.
At its heart, Pecks Road is all about giving back to the community. ‘Money is not the main motivator. What matters most is family, treating everyone with respect, and being proud of my roots while radiating with love and self-love. I consider myself blessed to be in business with my brothers; we complement each other, and there’s no better support system.’ Albin opines.
There is no denying Australia has been good to the Lawang family. Adapting and adjusting to a different environment as children have built resilience and acceptance. The growth and battler mentality is evident. Investing in each other and in their staff, as well as being proud Filipino-Australians, isn’t just lip service; it’s a day-to-day edict.
When asked what his advice would be to aspiring entrepreneurs, Albin was quick to point out, ‘Take the leap, don’t lose sight of your main goal and don’t lose yourself. If you find yourself being challenged, think on your toes. And if you fail, you’re starting from experience not scratch, keep pushing forward.’
Indeed, it is about pushing forward, shutting down the noise and being laser focused in your approach. Never forgetting your roots and always facing the future with clear eyes and full hearts.
Visit Pecks Road Cheat Meals at https://www.pecksroadcheatmeals.com/
Shop A6/1-7 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs VIC 3023
Follow @pecksroad on Instagram
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