It’s not often that you find out you and your partners’ great-grandparents both owned traditional deli’s in the UK. Let alone as you have just opened the doors of your third deli-inspired bagel store. For wives and business partners Candy Berger and Gaia Lovell, discovering the alignment in their heritage was the icing on the cake — or schmear in the bagel — that they have created something special. Lox In A Box is a blend of old and new, inspired by their heritage.
Jewish style, premium quality, locally made bagels, filled with drool-worthy, premium ingredients, including salmon (or Lox) sourced from Mt Cook, New Zealand. What’s beneath the schmear? We recently visited the Lox In A Box team to find out, plus we learned how they have scaled from one to three stores in a little over two years.
“It’s always a bit scary starting something new, that feeling and fear of failure is always there, but we didn’t let it stop us.” - Gaia Lovell, Co-Owner Lox In A Box
Candy grew up in the UK and the US. Upon moving to Sydney she noticed a huge gap in the market for premium-quality bagels, “We originally wanted to start a full Jewish deli, a sit down concept, like what they do in New York. You go in and they’re hand-carving beautiful quality lox in front of you. Everything is done in-house and when I moved to Sydney, I was like, where does this happen?”
Having owned a successful catering company in Sydney previously; Candy and her wife and business partner Gaia Lovell knew how to start a business, but Lox In A Box was an entirely different venture. “We were kind of winging it. We thought to lessen the risk, we’ll take the tiny shop across the road, split it in half with our catering company, and fill a gap in the market.
The name, and final concept, was a happy accident. “Funnily enough, we were looking at a site directly across the road from a gorgeous big empty venue and we were tossing around the idea of doing a sit-down deli where people would go and sit and eat on the grass. My wife Gaia was like, yeah, it’d be so nice. People can take their lox in a box and go sit on the grass. And I was like, what did you just say? And she’s like, lox in a box because they’ll eat their lox. And I was like, that’s it!”
“In the beginning, I was like, I don’t like taking risks. So, I felt a little better about taking the small shot first.” - Candy Berger, Co-Owner Lox In A Box
Ingredients for success
Lox In A Box has been using Square since day one, and as they have scaled, so has Square. Let’s take a peek behind the counter.
- Square Register powering all three stores
- 20+ Item Modifiers allowing customers to personalise their favourite Lox in a Box Bagel
- Square Online ordering for easy pre-ordering & pickup
- Third-party integrations for delivery allowing Lox in a Box to serve customers all over Sydney
- A Square Loan to help fund Lox in a Box’s venue expansion*
“As we’ve grown Square’s grown with us. Having a POS system and hardware that’s easy to use and the same across all the stores means that we can walk into Bondi, Coogee, or Manly and know what we’re doing.” - Candy Berger, Co-Owner Lox In A Box
Lox In A Box use item modifiers to let their customers customise their bagels — vegan, gluten-free, add extra lox? No worries! Candy and Gaia are able to see orders across each store on-the-go with Square Dashboard on their phones. A feature, they credit to helping them balance being full-time mums and full-time business owners.
“One of the best functionalities of Square is that we have our dashboard and POS system on our phones, it’s pretty much like having the store in your pocket.” - Gaia Lovell, Co-Owner Lox In A Box
Scaling while staying true to your brand
In a little over two years Lox In A Box has grown from a hole-in-the-wall location in Bondi Beach to three stores in Coogee and Manly — and there’s a fourth on the way. “It started as one store and we didn’t know that it was going to be multiple stores, but we felt that our brand was strong enough to open another store. Customers were coming to the Bondi store and saying, I wish you guys would open here, I wish you would open there.”
“We realised that we had quite a simple business model that could be replicated quite easily, and especially with using a platform like Square, it’s like you literally set up a Square Register, log in and go. So we expanded into Coogee and Manly!”
Lox In A Box opened their Manly store with the help of a Square Loan, “our Manly store wouldn’t have been possible without the Square loan, it was a super easy process, all we had to do was accept the offer and it was deposited into our account three days later.” Being able to pay back their loan as their business operates has allowed them to set their sights on location number four.
A common challenge for any business looking to expand into multiple locations is the role that changing clientele in each new area plays. As Candy explains, “do you change what you do for different communities or do you stand strong in what you’re doing in one store and apply it across all three stores in hopes that it translates?” For Lox, the answer was simple, brand and community are the backbones of the business, if they stayed true to that, they can open anywhere.
The schmear that holds it all together
Being partners in life and partners in business isn’t something that everyone can tackle. But, Candy and Gaia take it in their stride. As Candy explains, “Gaia and I have an amazing working relationship, she is my wife and my business partner which is extremely special.” Gaia adding, “we often say that we take two different paths up the same mountain, Candy is really fast and creative and I’m a little bit slower and analytical. That really lends itself to our roles in the business”.
The third element? Their team and community, Candy explains “the people working for us are fun, friendly, warm and inviting and it has always been like a place that you can come and just feel a little bit free. We dance and we sing and we shout orders out to people. From a branding perspective, it’s inclusive, it’s not feminine or masculine, it’s a brand that anyone, whether they’re young or old, can feel like they relate to”.
“We’re a family here, we pump the music, we have a bit of a dance, a bit of a sing and people are coming here to enjoy time with their friends, time with their family. It’s been pretty amazing to see so many different people com and try our bagels” - Candy Berger, Co-Owner Lox In A Box
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.
All loans are issued by Square AU Pty Ltd. (ABN 38 167 106 176). Valid Australian bank account is required. Actual fee depends upon payment card processing history, loan amount and other eligibility factors. A minimum payment of 1/18th of the initial loan balance is required every 60 days and full loan repayment is required within 18 months. Loan eligibility is not guaranteed. Eligibility criteria include consistent and continuous payment card processing through Square. All loans are subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.