Business spotlight

Ausdance ACT - Dancing their way to healthy!

Recently, Healthier Choices Canberra (HCC) welcomed Ausdance ACT to the program. Ausdance are strong advocates for healthier choices and have made a HCC pledge!

Ausdance have been running the Youth Dance Festival for 37 years. In September, the YDF hosted 640 students in Years 7-10 from participating schools across Canberra.

As part of their pledge, Ausdance provided healthy catering options instead of discretionary food and drinks for staff and volunteers across the two-day festival. Ausdance chose to use Eighty/Twenty catering, who are also a part of the HCC program.

In the high paced theatre environment meal breaks and food is often had on the run and not so healthy choices are made for convenience. I can honestly say in all the time I have worked on this project and others that the pledge made a real difference to our backstage team. I also saw a reduction in coffee intake!
Emma Dykes, Ausdance ACT Marketing Manager

Ausdance promoted the importance of water consumption and healthy food choices to students and teachers during the festival and provided information as to where they could refill their water bottles for free.

Over both days of the festival, Ausdance’s Media Partner, Hit104.7 sent their Hit Squad to The Canberra Theatre. Emma advised, ‘as part of their giveaways they usually hand out to the student’s things like soft drink cans and packets of chips.’ This year Ausdance proactively ensured they didn’t hand out any junk food. Instead, the Hit Squad handed out water, stickers and balloons.

We thank Ausdance ACT for their commitment and passion for making a positive difference.

Youth Dance Festival 2022: Melba Copeland school photo by Andrew Sikors
Melba Copeland school photo by Andrew Sikorski.
Lyons Friendly Grocer

Owner of Lyons Friendly Grocer, Andre Fazzolare, loves local and loves innovating to meet his customers' needs. We sat down with Andre for a quick chat about his adventure into the retail world.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I took over ownership of Lyons Friendly Grocer in December 2019. I will never forget it because it was right in the middle of the bushfires, just before COVID hit. I’ve been in Canberra most of my life and was looking for a change in direction, having previously owned a printing business.

And why a retail store?
I liked the idea of being able to supply people with things they most need, essential items and a real connection to the community. I was drawn to Lyons as I saw it as a huge challenge but equally a huge opportunity. The space desperately needed some TLC, which is precisely what we did! 

What’s so special about Lyons?
The store has evolved from when I first opened it. I listen to customers' feedback and implement small changes here and there to serve the local community better. We also love supporting and championing local suppliers – from Amberly Eggs to Three Mills Bakery and even our fresh produce we source from Farm Fresh, a family-owned Canberra business. It’s essential to support those businesses around us.

What motivated you to join HCC?
As a supermarket, we felt it was right and even necessary to get involved. Everyone has differing dietary needs, and the composition of products is also changing. Shopping habits are constantly evolving, so it just makes sense to highlight healthier items to support my customers.
“Given the choice, why wouldn’t I want to sell something healthier or at least highlight the products and give them a choice.”

You’ve pledged to dedicate an end of the aisle to display healthier items (well done, by the way). Do you think it’s made an impact on shopping habits?
Yes, I see items moving off the shelves. Items that may not have otherwise moved if they were sitting amongst the other lines. Also, being at the end of the aisle, it’s very prominent, so customers see the items much more.

What’s next for Lyons Friendly Grocer?
More local! We’re continuing to ramp up our local offerings – we’ve just introduced a range of local honey, Florey Bees honey. And we’ll keep on listening, learning and understanding what our customers want. Ideally, I’d like the store to be a one-stop shop, making it easy for customers so they don’t need to go to multiple places.

If you’re a local business ready to be part of Healthier Choices Canberra head to the Healthier Choices Canberra page to find out more or sign up now


Previous spotlights

Gungahlin Lakes Club - something for everyone

There are lots of new things happening at Gungahlin Lakes Club (GLC), including a refreshed menu. Recently, we sat down with Chef, Peter Robinson and Marketing Manager, Matteo Belladonna to learn more about the exciting changes happening at the club.

How long has Gungahlin Lakes Club been around?

We opened our doors in 1996 and since then it has been one of the pillars for the ever-changing Gungahlin community. Known to locals as "The Lakes", the club is situated on over 70 hectares of green parklands, the clubhouse offers stunning views and a modern interior offers a unique and enjoyable club experience.

At "The Lakes" we want to be a community hub where people can go to meet friends, build connections, have a great meal and have a good time. We try to update our offering and our internal spaces regularly but ensure that our feel remains the same.

How has your menu evolved over that time?

Traditionally, clubs have always associated with dishes identified as “club classics”. These include schnitzels, parmigiana, fish and chips, steaks and others. Tastes change and so does what people are looking for. Over time, we have tried to innovate and introduce new dishes, shaking up the classic club formula with the introduction of new dishes and differing cuisines. We also try to cater to those who prefer lighter meals and acknowledge emerging food trends through our diverse menu offering.

We have recently introduced a whole range of new dishes and salads that can be enjoyed by everyone, and the partnership with Healthier Choices Canberra has been vital in fine-tuning and future-proofing our traditional food offering without compromising quality or flavour. Our motto is “not your usual club food”, meaning that we still offer all of the club classics you would expect but at the same time providing lighter variations of the same meals depending on personal preference.

What would be the most popular dish on the menu?

Unsurprisingly, our best sellers remain our great steaks and chicken schnitzels - classic clubs meals. More recently, however, our salads and vegan dishes have been extremely popular too. We believe this is synonymous with an ever-growing segment that enjoys going to the club without having to give up their nutritional choices, while also providing options for anyone that wants to try something different. Our chefs take great pride in producing quality food and we invite everyone to try a new offering and experience the difference.

Do you see any food trends coming through, that you’ve reflected in your current menu?

Our chefs have been responsive to the changing food culture, incorporating recipes that adhere to the demand for alternative diets while remaining loyal to those who love their ‘club classics’. Instead of staying in our niche, we have seen this demand as an opportunity to expand our menu so that it remains fresh and appealing. The prime example of this is our range of vegetarian and vegan options that extend beyond the typical ‘veggie patty burger’ and instead aims to be exciting and delicious and challenge some of those stereotyped preconceptions. 

You now showcase healthier options on the main menu as well as the kids’ menu, what influenced you to make that change?

Again, we saw the demand for health-conscious eating as an opportunity to enhance our menu; to change things up while also appealing to a wider audience. It goes without saying that if the demand for healthier choices is increasing, then the demand for kids’ healthier choices needs to be considered as well. Being a family-orientated club, it is important for us to respond to the wants and needs of parents, and this includes providing nourishing meals that their kids will still enjoy. This is one of the things that makes us stand out in the dining experience that we offer. 

How can Canberra support GLC?

Come in and enjoy one of our delicious meals! Not only has our restaurant got all kinds of meals on offer, but our pizza and burger bar will also satisfy the deepest of hungers while our café is perfect for a lighter meal and a coffee catch-up. Enjoy a range of facilities including our outdoor beer garden, our lounge overlooking the picturesque golf course, and our retro-style games room for the kids!

We encourage everyone to go out and support their local club, so we can keep providing outstanding service and local jobs to our community. 

To find out more information about what's going on a GLC head to their website: 

Page last updated on: 1 Nov 2022