Date posted: May 26, 2016

Cutting of The Pie - cropped
Sean and Nathan Garlick cutting the pie at their “Garlo’s Aussie Pie Shop” opening in Los Angeles.

Garlo’s Pies was born when NRL star Sean “Garlo” Garlick and his brother Nathan teamed up back in 2000, together with their father Terry who had just retired from working at the wharves. Sean had built a sporting career and name for himself while Nathan had a knack for baking and together they were set to become a formidable team. They had bandied around the idea of opening a pie shop for quite a while before they actually opened the doors in Anzac Parade, Maroubra Junction in March 2001.

Sean says “it became a huge local success and suddenly we didn’t have the operating power to keep up with the demand – so we opened up another store, and then another. Our biggest leap forward was when Garlo’s Pies hit the shelves in Coles supermarkets. It was a stepping stone which led to our pies being served on flights abroad”.

Now with two sons also working in the business, Garlo’s Pies is a second generation family business with a total of seven family members involved. Sean and his brother aspire to continue as a family business reflecting “you cannot replicate the brand loyalty and transparency that comes with running a family business. It is a big part of what makes Garlo’s Pies the success that it is today”.

Growth and expansion have been key goals of the family business from an early outset, with 6 stores opening in New South Wales over the first 36 months, followed by the expansion of their wholesale customer base in the years to come including over 200 Hotels, Café’s, Schools, Mobile Lunch Trucks and Sports Grounds. As the word spread about the quality of their pies, Garlo’s Pies became available in Coles Supermarkets across NSW and QLD in 2010. This was followed by IGA Supermarkets, which launched Garlo’s Pies in 2012. With stores now opening in Los Angeles, exporting pies to the Middle East, Hong Kong and the South Pacific, Sean explains “we’d like to see Garlo’s Pies on every continent!”.

What have been the greatest opportunities being a food manufacturer and a family business?

“As you begin to produce more, the chain of command starts to get longer and longer. The benefit of having family across the whole business is massive especially when it comes to my peace of mind. The sense of trust that comes with running a family business means that I can sleep soundly knowing that everything is functioning the way it should be when I’m predisposed”.

What are the greatest challenges of being a family business?

“Drawing the line between work and family time. We’ll be sitting at the dinner table having a conversation and then all of a sudden an hour goes by and we’ve talked about nothing but work”. Sean recommends setting boundaries between work and family life, saying “it’ll boost productivity and everyone will be happier”.

Why choose to be a member of Family Business Australia?

Sean has been a member of Family Business Australia for some time, saying “being a part of the FBA community has been a great networking tool. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting stacks of like-minded business owners, some of whom I have ended up working with”.

Sean Garlick will attend the FBA National Family Business Conference on 18th August in Melbourne to engage in a session on diversification in the family business, where he will discuss in greater detail the expansion of Garlo’s Pies into international markets. Click here for more information on the National Conference.