A new space for connecting
Community spaces are more important than ever to connect with people, feel welcome, share ideas and solve problems big and small.
A new place just opened in Torquay is designed to help do all of the above.
Modest Folk blends cafe and retail in a relaxed and welcoming space in the Torquay town centre, five minutes walk from the beach but away from the summer chaos. The concept was created by Hayley Kruse, who has been on the Surf Coast for the past 12 years.
Originally from inner-city Melbourne, Hayley’s husband’s family brought her down to the coast and she can’t imagine living and raising a family anywhere else.
“The Surf Coast has given me so much joy and connection, and I felt the need to create a space that I believe would resonate with other residents like me and serve the community,” Hayley said.
A non-negotiable for Modest Folk was to be 100 per cent single-use coffee cup free which now makes Modest Folk one of only two cafes in the Surf Coast Shire to operate this way.
Ocean Grind, which is also Modest Folk’s bean supplier, pioneered the way back in late 2019 phasing out all single-use coffee cups from their business.
“I am a big believer in growth, change and disrupting traditional ways of doing things so it was important for me to create a business that actually lived these values,” Hayley said.
“While it may take a bit more time and effort to onboard customers to this way of operating, I’ve been really pleased with how receptive and supportive everyone has been. I think it’s a testament to the Surf Coast community, and illustrates exactly why I love Jan Juc and Torquay.
“Ultimately, it would break my heart to be at the beach with my kids and see a single-use cup with my brand on it as litter. I want to be respectful of the land we live and play on, Wadawarrung Land, and operate my business in a responsible way.”
Hayley thanked those customers who had supported her with this intention so far and gave huge credit to Modest Folk’s two baristas; Kate and Jeremy.
Modest Folk offers customers a variety of options to enjoy their coffee: BYO cups are always welcome, customers can borrow a mug from the mug library or dine in and enjoy a moment’s break. They retail a variety of cups and mugs, that include a free coffee when purchased.
Modest Folk also runs the Huskee Swap program that is similarly utilised at Ocean Grind. For $10 you can purchase a Huskee Cup which is a stylish reusable cup made from repurposed coffee-husks; you can choose to bring your own clean cup or if you have a dirty cup you can return it to be cleaned and get it swapped out for a clean Huskee cup.
Amid the chaos of project managing the shop fit-out without a builder, and having the kids at home during the lockdowns of the past few months, Hayley adapted her business plans when it became apparent that the labour skills shortage would limit her ability to operate a full menu in the cafe so she chose to open with coffee and a careful selection of retail items.
Some of those products include Jan Juc’s international heavyweight B-Corp brand Bellroy, with their slim wallets and smart bags that help people carry things better. There’s also fellow B-Corp Karst Stone Paper notebooks that are totally wood-pulp free, plus Surf Coast brand JOCO cups and water bottles.
Hayley is now hopeful of finding the right chef or cook to suit the business.
“We’ve got a lovely new kitchen but no cook or chef. I know we’re not alone with this challenge, and I can also empathise with those in the hospitality industry who’ve had a really rough 18-24 months; they need time and space to process and reflect on everything so I am just focusing on what I can control right now which is creating a welcoming space with a great vibe and a loyal customer base, ready for the right person to come along to bring my vision of humble and accessible vegetarian food to life.”
For summer Modest Folk is teaming up with secondary school teacher and local plant-based food blogger, Jacqui Scott of Two Peas Food, to create some salads perfect to take down to the beach and enjoy. The salad offering will be available in the first week of January.
Found at 10 Pearl Street, Torquay, next door to Pearl and just five minutes walk from the foreshore, Modest Folk’s opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 7am-2pm.
Head down and connect in person, or follow on Instagram @modest_folk.