In an era of supermarket proliferation, an old-fashioned family business is breathing new life into a traditional style of store.
Freshabake in Oakleigh recently reopened following a major renovation and owner Melina Longhurst said she was proud to offer “a very homely” bakery with more open shelving and products out on display.
“You should feel comfortable and at home here. We have set our products out so that you can wander around and help yourself, or ask us for help, we are here to assist,” Ms Longhurst said.
Her two brothers have long been bakers at the store and now her sister, who runs the successful French Lettuce Patisserie in Carlton, provides beautiful cakes too.
“It’s a great addition,” Ms Longhurst said.
“I love to display and sell my talented family’s wonderful cakes.”
Business has been good and feedback positive since the reopening. Along with the cakes, the pittas, savouries and hot bread rolls, which are all baked on site, are proving popular.
Ms Longhurst and her siblings are fifth generation bakers and the family business, which has been in Oakleigh for about 25 years, is 165 years old – beginning on the gold fields of Ballarat.
“I am really proud that we have that tradition and the baking passion has come down through the generations,” Ms Longhurst said.
“We display a picture of my great grandfather (in the store) and proudly show that heritage.”
Ms Longhurst believes a love of shopping outside of the big supermarkets, in independent, individual shops on our community retail strips is being embraced even by young shoppers.
“The under 40s are a supermarket generation but we see them more and more in the bakery. The individual, family-run business is a great service to the community.”
And Freshabake is thriving in Oakleigh Central, which is a busy retail hub.
“Okaleigh is Melbourne’s food capital without a doubt,” Ms Longhurst said.
“This is the perfect place for us to bake and sell our delicious products.”