by Clair Morton
IT HAS always been Yamba resident Toni Sharpe's dream to have a business to call her own.
A few months ago that became a reality when her husband Chris Hellmrich bought home the keys to a business space on Treelands Drive.
Fast forward a few months and the Aloha Sushi Bar and Cafe has been up and running for close to three weeks.
Mr Hellmrich said it had been a crazy journey so far, but both he and his wife were over the moon with the response they've had from the local community.
"It's been pretty busy and really good so far," he said.
"It's a lot to keep up with, but we're really happy a lot of locals have been loving it and saying the community has really needed this for a long time."
The Japanese/Hawaiian inspired menu really has filled a gap in the local food scene. Currently on offer at Aloha is a selection of nori rolls, tempura, and traditional Hawaiian poke bowls. The menu will also be expanded in coming weeks to include a number of other Japanese dishes.
"For the last five years I've been doing catering (for businesses around Yamba) but my dream was always to have my own place," Ms Sharpe said.
"For me it's making the food we always eat.
"We go to Hawaii, so we eat poke a bit.
"Everyone gets so scared thinking about eating raw fish sushi, but I'm introducing them to a really healthy way of eating."
"It's not hard for me to create this food because I love it."
The Aloha Sushi Bar can be found at 2/8 Treelands Dr, Yamba.