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The Big Bear Story

Big Bears Donuts is a family run business, hand making a variety of fresh donuts, filled with our own house made toppings. Operating from our custom built food trailer, you can find us at Apex Park in Lakes Entrance, opposite Aldi, Friday-Sunday from 7am.

Born from necessity in October 2019, Ewan (Big Bear) was a commercial fisherman for 12 years, before changes in the fishing industry forced him to re-think his families economic future. Originally looking to start a food van to draw on his fishing background and to capitalise on the difference between what the fisherman gets paid, and what the fish shop sells the same fish for, the reality was that he’d still need to travel heaps to make the business model sustainable. What other food van options where there?? As a lad growing up in Bendigo, Sunday was always family day with Ewan’s father either cooking fresh jam and cream scones, or taking the family to a local park for hot jam donuts. The same jam donut van still operates every weekend at Lake Weroona, 30 years later, still creating great memories. And the idea for our Donut Van was born.

What to call our family van/business?? Ewan married Shannon, who had two kids from a previous marriage, who needed to call Ewan something, other than Dad, and due to his size and Bundy Rum drinking habit, Ewan became Big Bear. We’ve since had another two kids together, and our logo reflects Ewan as the Big Bear with the kids represented by the little bear.  And Big Bears Donuts was born.

Hat in hand we went to the bank with a crazy idea, and with a shoestring budget set about building our van (and business) from the ground up. Not being able to afford new equipment, we scrounged, cleaned and scrubbed what secondhand equipment we could, trying to save a few bucks, and come opening day had a shiny new van to make our donuts in.

Each morning, Ewan starts at dumb o-clock to mix the dough from scratch, lets the dough rest, rolls out and cuts each donut by hand, then puts the shaped donut into a temperature and humidity controlled proofing oven to rise, then cooks the donut’s in the van’s fryers and finally decorates the donuts once they have cooled. This process takes approximately 2 ½ hours from when the dough starts to be mixed, to when the finished donut is ready to go on display for sale.

Supporting our local community is important to us and we pride ourselves on using local suppliers where possible. Gippsland Jersey Milk, Forge Creek Free Range Eggs, David Lucke’s Smokehouse Bacon, and of course all the local trades that helped to build, and now maintain our van so we can continue to bring you our yummy donuts.

Finding a home

At a time when a lot of Lakes Entrance shop fronts were closing down, leaving empty shops along the main street, we realised that our little business was actually growing and now too big for our van. We needed to 'set up shop' and with the town's long esplanade of 'FOR LEASE' signs everywhere you look, we could pick and choose our location that will house the next iteration of Big Bears Donuts.

We chose a place nice and close to where the action is. A stones throw from the famous Lakes Entyrance footbridge. It's a place where locals and visitors gather during nice weather, year round and now Big Bear is there to serve up drinks, coffees and our now famous donuts.