Hitting the Sweet Spot
Hailing from a small town in England’s north-west, Norman and Kate Scott are pinching themselves that they’re now living in the stunning Sunshine Coast Hinterland. After two successful careers that took them around the world, the couple is relishing their newest challenge as owners of one of Maleny’s most delectable gelato businesses.
Stepping through the wooden cafe doors in Maleny, your eyes can’t help but meet with the indulgent cabinet of gelati at the forefront of the counter, filled with sorbets and ice-cream laced with chocolates and sauces interwoven into the soft curves of the dairy-base. Kate and Norman Scott have truly immersed themselves into the cosmos of gelati creation. She is a self-proclaimed nomad. Her husband, a driven and successful business consultant.
“I’ve always been a bit of a gypsy,” Kate laughs, “Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to travel and live overseas, it had always been a life goal of mine.”
Upon completing her accounting degree, she started applying for jobs across the globe, landed a position in Brisbane and the pair relocated to Australia.
“We packed up our lives and originally planned to live overseas for two years. That was in 1992,” Norman says, “I just tagged along and got a job when I got here.”
With a background in business consultation and a clear drive for success, Norman quickly ascended the ranks of the international company he was working for. After more than a decade consulting for some of Australia’s leading organisations, another overseas opportunity arose and the Scotts packed up their growing family and headed to south-east Asia.
“I was based out of Singapore but travelled all over Asia and the world,” Norman says, reminiscing about the transient lifestyle he once lived, “I worked with the executives, boards and CEOs of big corporations like Sony and Unilever, and taught them how to run their businesses differently.”
Kate, delightedly spent the time in Singapore raising daughters, Emma and Sara.
“We’ve got two children and at that stage I was a full-time mum, so it suited me just fine. The girls went to the Australian international school and I had a blissful few years as a stay-at-home mum, which was great,” she says.
People are so passionate about the flavours and they challenge us to continue creating and providing amazing tasting product.”
As the girls grew older, Kate’s desire to rejoin the workforce motivated the couple to start hunting for new business opportunities.
“Very quickly we discovered that Colin James’ business was for sale. Colin and Jean were looking to retire,” Norman says, “We had a look at it and saw a lot of opportunities. Maleny was changing and becoming more of a foodie destination, so we took the foundation that was here and built upon it.”
A foundation that has won numerous national prizes and positioned Colin James gelati as one of Australia’s most desired sweet treats.
“There is nothing better than seeing people come in and taste the gelati and go, ‘Wow!’. That in itself brings such energy into the shop,” Norman says, his eyes lighting up as he points to an ice-cream covered toddler sitting out the front of the cafe. “People are so passionate about the flavours and they challenge us to continue creating and providing amazing tasting product.”
A product that both Norman and Kate quickly learnt to create themselves.
“We’re fast learners,” Kate laughs, “But, I think when it comes to this, it’s about the passion you have for it. I lay in bed thinking of ways we can create new amazing flavours. We live and breathe it and we just love it, it’s our life now.”
Norman and Kate’s vision for Colin James’ business is expansive. Their motivation, however, remains local. The couple’s hearts for the Maleny community is obvious in every element of their planning for the future and it’s the people behind the brand that they’re most invested in.
“I’m really passionate about the people side of the business,” Kate says, “It’s our staff and their commitment that makes this journey so special. We try to only hire Maleny locals and we have some wonderful people who are a part of our story.”
Two years at the helm and many more to come, the Scotts have found their niche once again in a small Hinterland town. Despite years spent trotting the globe with massive corporations, they find their home in the peace of a local community.
“We grew up in a small village in the north-west of England and I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would end up in a small village on the Sunshine Coast,” Kate chuckles, “the similarities between the two are amazing.”
“The history of Maleny is great, and being a part of the community is teaching me things I never thought I’d know,” Norman adds, “I think I could just about milk a cow myself these days.”
As our interview draws to a close and I say my farewells to the hard-working couple, I can’t help but glance longingly at the glistening gelati cabinet.
“Would you like one?” Norman offers, and I grin, as I spot my favourite flavour.
“Cherry ripe and chocolate, please!”
Each mouthful more delicious than the last. Their gelato certainly hits the sweet spot.