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Local Cake Shop ‘Doesn’t Fit In’

By Duncan Horscroft on April 24, 2012 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

The slow death of the Bronte village community continues with the news that the iconic Bronte Cake Shop will soon be closing its doors.

Greg and Helen Faint, who have run the business along with their two sons Brad and Cameron for the past 15 years, were shattered when told by real estate agent Dean Norburn that their lease would not be renewed after it expires on May 15.

“We were absolutely devastated when we were told the shop ‘does not fit into the criteria of the strip’ and that our lease would not be renewed,” Greg said.

“It was obvious something was going on because we were not given an option last time we renewed our lease. Also, we have been trying to get repairs done on the shop for the past two years and those requests have fallen on deaf ears.

“And the bread shop next door was recently granted a 5×5 lease, which is uncommon in this area.”

Dean Norburn, who manages the cake shop property and the other four shops and units in the block for the one owner, refused to delve into the matter.

“I’ve been down that road before… I don’t trust the media,” was all he would say when contacted by The Beast.

In a touch of irony, it has been rumoured that a high profile real estate agent is eyeing off the cake shop premises when the lease expires.

But Greg said he had spoken to Waverley councillor Moira Maine about the matter and she said the prospect of another café or real estate agent in the village was unlikely.

“Ms Maine said she would oppose any application for another café or real estate business in the area,” he said.

And rightly so. The last thing the village needs is another business that contributes nothing to the local community.

The Bronte Cake Shop has been in the same location for more than sixty years and Greg and Helen have been loyal supporters of the local schools, donating prizes and vouchers for events such as trivia nights and local fetes.

Try getting that support from a trendy business where you pay $14 for bacon and egg rolls or $12 for a loaf of bread.

It wasn’t that long ago that Bronte had surf shops, a milk bar, a hamburger joint and a chicken shop in its immediate locale.

The cake shop up the road was a regular stop for the tradies and garbos looking for a ‘dog’s eye’ and a carton of chocolate milk for smoko. It was also a ‘must’ for surfers after a solid session on Bronte Reef.

Now there are seven cafes on the beach strip and two up the road on Macpherson Street. Some put the tag ‘organic’ on their food to justify the outrageous prices they charge and the trendy brigade snubs its nose at the mere thought of eating a meat pie or, heaven forbid, a fresh block of vanilla slice.

My mum used to stop at the local cake shop on the way to school as I did with my kids. It didn’t do us any harm.

But now these ‘old school’ shops are a dying breed and the demise of the ‘Bronte Cakey’ has left a sour taste in the mouths of all those who patronise and love it.


  1. This kind of thing makes me sick. Community should banned whatever crap hole they stick in there and teach the ‘big boys’ with their back door deals that they aren’t wanted or needed by the community.

    Posted by: mrbolano | April 30, 2012, 9:25 AM |

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    • Alas, the ‘community’ with their faux ‘village’ mentality would prefer to buy $12 loaves of trendy bread than 60 cent bread rolls in Bronte Bakery. The kiosk at Wylie Baths is about to become another victim of this insane obsession with everything hip, happening and trendy. The baths will be awash with botoxed Yummy Mummies who dare not get their chemically-straightened hair wet, sipping on their soy lattes and nibbling at pork belly on organic spelt bread.

      Posted by: Pearlie | April 30, 2012, 10:26 PM |

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    • An Open Letter to Mr. Dean Norburn,

      Mr. Norburn,

      Your recent decision to close down the Bronte Cake Shop represents a badly mistaken lack of regard for our local community. Confidentially the lease holders of the other properties with the same owner as the cake shop have informed me this decision to not renew the shop lease is yours alone and does not involve the owner of same properties at McPherson St. If this is true your glib statement that a cake shop “doesn’t fit’ indicates a total contempt for the Bronte community at the expense of your own commercial ambitions.

      Why close down a shop that operates successfully (for sixty years !) and supports the Bronte community because you think “it doesn’t fit”. Based on what aesthetic do you think a shop that sells bread and cakes does not fit in our suburb ? Next to a new trendy bread shop by the way, and both shops have shown this year they can co-exist.

      Such a decision shows a lack of awareness and a failure to understand this issue is not only about the popular Bronte cake shop, it also highlights a bigger concern for people living in Bronte about how commercial greed is changing our suburb without community influence or say in the process. To anyone who vouches for your professional credentials, my answer would be no-one is infallible, and in this case a grave error in judgement reflects a disdain for community opinion.

      Are you not concerned about your business reputation in the Eastern Suburbs ? So far your action only reiterates the poor reputation of many real estate agents and frankly your own professional name. I would ask you to at least address, through the media, the public concerns about how Bronte is redeveloped, or put it on public record if this action to change a part of Bronte is not your own decision. Thank you.

      And a note to congratulate The Beast for showing its support of the Bronte community with this issue above possible commercial opportunities with the same real estate agent. The Beast has a spine !!

      Your sincerely,
      Wally Wintle

      Posted by: Wally Wintle | June 20, 2012, 1:59 PM |

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  2. Bronte will soon become cafe city without a shop left for the locals to buy butter,tea ,sugar etc.This has already happened at the beach.Now it’s creeping up McPherson St. at pace.We are fast losing the amenity provided by the local shops .Next we will be forced to go to Bondi Junction to pcik up last minute necessities.

    Posted by: kate | May 15, 2012, 11:53 AM |

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  3. I disagree with these comments regarding Dean. He has managed my investment properties for many years and has always been professional. Maybe it’s the owner that should be questioned not the real estate agent.. I’m sure this pie shop can find a new location for a cheaper rent considering the commercial market is struggling at the moment.

    Posted by: Mark M | May 29, 2012, 6:16 PM |

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