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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.