SURPRISE: Sue Hoffman was
SURPRISE: Sue Hoffman was "amazed” by what her son secretly planned. Gardens Galore

Life-sized gingerbread house puts Warwick on the map

THE sweetest surprise awaited Warwick entrepreneur Sue Hoffman this week, when she returned home to a life-sized gingerbread house in the backyard of Gardens Galore.

Sue said she was "absolutely blown away” by the candy covered structure, complete with 7ft tall gingerbread man and shelves fully stocked with sugary treats.

"I'd been away looking after family and it was all kept a total secret,” she said.

"It was amazing.”

Sue's son and business partner Clint Hoffman quietly pieced the project together as a way of attracting more customers and diversifying business offerings during drought.

"Clint's always had a good business head and he knows you've got to keep changing it up,” Sue said.

"In hard times you just have to keep trying and work your business in different ways.

"This is now an option that doesn't need water but still provides people with pleasure.”

The gingerbread house officially opened to the public today and Sue said it was an immediate hit with customers.

"We are on an absolute roll,” she said.

"There are children running in and out, adults heading in there, and it's really something totally different you can't see anywhere else.”

One customer told Sue the changes gave them "somewhere to go and be proud of” in town.

A shabby chic succulent shed and an enticing new menu have also been introduced this month as part of the company's quest to keep Gardens Galore and Warwick on the map.

"We're trying to do the best we can for our area and keep it as a destination place,” Sue explained.

"We've had so many travellers over the last four days it's been amazing.

"All the fireys have been in after the fires, taking photos and telling us how they'll bring their children back with them next time.”

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