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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

A piece of Byron history set for renewal

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Business partners Phil Taylor and Parkway Drive’s Ben Gordon. Photo Jeff Dawson
Business partners Phil Taylor and Parkway Drive’s Ben Gordon. Photo Jeff Dawson

Ben Gordon’s latest project – outside touring and recording with metalcore band Parkway Drive – will soon be unveiled along Bangalow Rd.

He’s in the process of renovating Macs Milk Bar and hopes to be open by the beginning of December.

Ben says, ‘When I initially saw that the building was for sale, my first thought was that it would be a real shame if a foreign investor or Sydney developer type ended up buying it and ripping it down or turning it into something the community didn’t want.’

‘It’s an old iconic building that has been there for a long time so I felt compelled to try to protect it. I remember walking there after school and buying two-cent lollies in the early 90s.

History

‘We looked into the history of the building and found out that it has been a general store since 1947. It was built by Andy and June Blair for their son, who returned home from World War II.

‘It’s had several different names in that time, such as “Walls Store”, “Greys Store” and it wasn’t until the mid- 80s that it was named “Macs Milk Bar”. 

‘We’ve tried to honour the building as much as possible by bringing it back to its original form using recycled materials from that same era, as well as putting a lot of thought and effort into small details.

‘It’s been even more rewarding having my dad there to add his old-school touch, as he has been building and renovating houses in Byron for the last 50 years.

Main goals

‘Our main goals are to support locals, both customers and suppliers/producers, and to also be as environmentally conscious as possible. Everything from using recycled materials for the fit-out, to being solar powered, to having as little plastic as possible and also offering customer incentives for making an effort too.

‘We are also aiming to bring in a genuine friendly community vibe back that I feel has been lost in a lot of places.

‘Starting a business outside the band isn’t something I thought I’d ever do’, says Ben, as he is still really busy touring overseas and making records. ‘But it’s been a fun and rewarding project so far,’ he says.

‘I won’t be the one in there working or making coffees as we have a busy touring schedule in 2018 but it will be good to see it open and to have a place for people on that side of town to go without having to face the ever-congested town centre.

‘Lastly, we are still looking for old photos of the building but can’t find much, so if anybody has any we would love to see them!’


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