High-school friends often vow to stick together, though many such promises slip by the wayside as lives get busier and interests take friends in different directions.
Every now and again, though, the promise comes to fruition. So it is with the team at Homegrown, a brand-new eatery in Brunswick Heads. Co-owners Frances Mangleson and Shellie Nicholls met at Mullumbimby High School and, more than a decade after their graduation, they have joined forces in business.
Shellie is the cook, and she mines her family’s strong culinary flair for her recipes, including the already popular homemade sausage rolls (vegetarian or pork and fennel). She aims for her food to be wholesome, nutritious and quick to serve.
Frances saw potential in the building, which fronts Tweed Street and backs onto the IGA carpark. ‘It had three full internal walls and felt closed in,’ she says. ‘Once we’d done the demolition, it really opened the space up, then it came into its own once the fixtures and fittings were in.’
When Frances says ‘we’ in this sentence, she really means it. Frances, along with high-school-friend-turned-fiancée Allan Martin, did the renovation work themselves. This is not just anyone deciding to tackle a shop fit-out. Allan is a qualified carpenter and Frances, through working with Allan, has done an ‘informal apprenticeship’. Prior to opening Homemade, they did the fit-out for Fleet and Sunshine Trader, both in ‘central’ Brunswick Heads.
They all love the lifestyle that this region offers. ‘We wanted to come back here,’ says Frances of their recent return from Brisbane. ‘Being able to swim in the river and go to the beach every day – that’s where our priorities are.’
Another priority is bedding down their new enterprise – they only opened on 1 April. I chatted to Frances while she was competently installing a bracket in the kitchen. Their other priority is to minimise their impact on the environment. All cutlery and crockery is compostable, as are their coffee cups. The cups are ideal for reusing by planting seedlings in them. Once the seedling is ready, it can be planted cup and all. Waste is carefully managed and any leftover food goes to Byron Bay’s Liberation Larder.
Frances will continue to manage the business, Shellie is on food, and Allan will play an occasional role in the day-to-day operations. Baristas have been employed and, funnily enough, these are old friends from Mullum High days too! This is truly a homegrown team.
Homegrown is open every day except Wednesdays, 6.30am–3pm (except for sleep-ins on the weekend when they open at 7/7.30am).