Michelle’s new grind just fine by the beach in Mooloolaba

Michelle Lucadou-Wells is the new franchisee of Jamaica Blue on Mooloolaba Esplanade, enjoying a sea change from Sydney having worked at the chain's corporate head office for three years.
Michelle Lucadou-Wells is the new franchisee of Jamaica Blue on Mooloolaba Esplanade, enjoying a sea change from Sydney having worked at the chain's corporate head office for three years. Iain Curry

IMAGINE swapping corporate life in Sydney for the grind of running a coffee shop in Mooloolaba.

Michelle Lucadou-Wells has done exactly that. But the difference in her case is she has managed to stay with the same company.

For three years, she was the national operations manager for coffee shop chain Jamaica Blue.

Then, she decided it was time for a change and took over as franchisee of the Mooloolaba Esplanade outlet on November 19.

"I grew up in Brisbane, so what better place to come to than the Sunshine Coast?" she said.

"And it is the next step in my career.

"From a corporate point of view I guess I was at the pinnacle.

"The Jamaica Blue here was available and it's probably the best location out of all the Jamaica Blues we've got all over the country.

"Most of our other cafes are in shopping centres, but this is unique. We are on the beachfront and I am a very outdoorsy person, so it's great to be able to come to work every day and see that view and breathe the fresh air."

Despite working almost seven days a week, Michelle is hoping to squeeze in some training for the Mooloolaba Triathlon in March.

She said the Coast life- style was a nice change to metropolitan Sydney where she lived in the inner east.

"People here have time to have a chat and they are a lot friendlier, relaxed and laid back," she said.

"My colleagues were pretty gob-smacked (about the move) but afterwards, everyone was a bit envious as well that I had the gumption to do it."

Biggest challenge?

The switch from corporate office to busy cafe took a toll on Michelle's body, with her feet, hands and back feeling the strain initially.

But she is now "cafe-fit" and has adapted.

Biggest advantage?

She spent three years developing the chain's systems, so she knows them back to front.

She also counts her people skills as an asset when it comes to management.


According to research released by Evocities, seven out of 10 Sydneysiders have considered ditching the city in search of cheaper homes, shorter commutes and better lifestyles.

Topics:  jamaica blue mooloolaba

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