Mackay couple's donut business has China's attention
YOU will have heard of the cronut, loaded shakes, the 'donut cone' and the pizza cone.
But there is a little known invention that is catapulting one Mackay business into the international food scene.
The Jolly Pretzel owners, Daniel Thorpe and Erin Smith, have perfected 'donut fries' - think all the flavours of hot cinnamon doughnuts, packaged neatly into steak chip-sized bites.
"We are probably the only one in Australia that do what we do how we do it," Mr Thorpe said.
"So when you go to big companies - there's nothing like it."
The Mackay couple will take their products to China in the next couple of months after being contacted by an investor.
"We're planning on shipping everything from here, but eventually we will have to set up over there just to see how it all goes," Mr Thorpe said.
They have also been contacted by American companies about their donut cones, thousands of which they sell each week, wholesaling to cafes and business along the east coast of Queensland.
"We are definitely Queensland's largest, and probably Australia's largest producer of the donut cones," he said.
Mr Thorpe also works as an underground miner at Moranbah, but when he's home he and his partner Ms Smith are in the shop seven days a week.
"We take the time to get it right," he said.
"When your company is struggling and everything is hard, you seem to have to push more and work harder to get more opportunities.
"So it makes you have no choice but to do 80 hours a week."
They cut all their donut fries by hand and freshly bake all their pretzels, pastries and hot dog buns daily.
The Jolly Pretzel started as a market stall about 18 months ago, when they sold only potato sabers.
Soon after adding baked good to their repertoire they moved into a shop at Caneland Central, where they stayed for six months before moving to their own shop on the Peak Downs Hwy opposite Racecourse Mill.
It is here their creative juices were allowed to flow, trying new pretzel and donut creations such as the donuts fries and nuggets.
"There are no rules to regulate us now, we have a bit more freedom with what we can do here," Mr Thorpe said.
"So if we want to do something to get more customers, or something people want, you just do it rather than having to get permission.
"We love a perfect product and we love our customers coming in and just seeing something you have made, to as good as you can get it, and them enjoy it."
So what's next for The Jolly Pretzel empire?
"We just have to keep pushing ourselves and keep the dream alive," Ms Smith said.