Meet Sheli Ratcliff of Acai Brothers Camberwell
Article posted: October 25, 2018
Health conscious vegan Sheli Ratcliff walks the talk of her business and couldn’t be a better fit for the Acai Brothers franchise.
She started out with a partner but now is sole operator of Acai Brothers in Camberwell.
Her enthusiasm, energy and creativity have meant that after just a year in the suburb, the cafe is already a bit of an institution.
Schools, local gyms and other local businesses are part of the Acai Brothers immersion in the Camberwell shopping precinct.
“I’m vegan and 99 per cent of our food is vegan, so this business suited me,” Ms Ratcliff said.
“I had health issues and becoming vegan helped with those, and I love sharing that type of food with others.
Ms Ratcliff said being located in Camberwell was a good fit for Acai Brothers.
“I have been in Camberwell just over a year and I love it. There are lots of schools around, we are near the station, so our location is great, but also the area has a lot of health conscious, fit people and we match that.”
A community-driven business
Ms Ratcliff said the eatery’s point of difference was the quality of their acai bowls.
“A lot of places now have acai on their menu which is good but ours is whipped like ice cream, not watered down, and then the textures are added. Everything that is added is fresh and natural,” she said.
And Ms Ratcliffe hasn’t just been waiting for customers to knock on her door. She has taken a proactive approach to her business, both to establish her eatery in the Camberwell precinct and to connect with the local neighbourhood.
“We have incursions from schools and we do excursions to schools,” she said.
“We have even taken ingredients to a pre-school and the kids made their own acai bowls and we made worksheets. Doing things with schools is fun for the kids and also a chance to talk about health and nutrition.”
Ms Ratcliff is now looking to work with high schools.
She also hires out the venue for functions and has catered parties where she provides the food or kids create their own bowls.
“It is something a little different and great fun for the kids,” she said.
Ms Ratcliff has also held sample days at local gyms to highlight the Acai Brothers product and connect with other businesses.
“I love to collaborate with other businesses, maybe providing a deal for their customers. For example, I took some samples to Lululemon on their 20th birthday and we handed out flyers offering Lulelemon customers a discount on their visit to Acai Brothers,” Ms Ratcliff said.
“Camberwell is so good for that – businesses working with each other where possible.”
Always growing, always learning
While the acai bowl might seem like a teenage trend, the eatery’s regular customer base ranges in age, from mid-teens to late forties, Ms Ratcliff said.
“We have something for everyone who wants healthy, delicious food,” she said.
Acai Brothers is a fast-growing superfood bar franchise – the idea of mates Ben Day and Sam Carson.
They wanted to supply healthy food but also establish an outlet that embraced community, lifestyle and fitness.
Acai Brothers in Camberwell seems to be achieving that.
“When I first began researching the franchise, I loved the guys. They had so much energy and a clear idea of what the business was,” Ms Ratcliff said.
And she isn’t slowing down. Ms Ratcliff is always on the hunt for fresh approaches to growing her business and expanding its profile.
“I’m always looking around and listening to see if I can find new ideas,” she said.
Visit the store
891 Burke Rd, Camberwell
Phone: 0466 898 513.