After 15 years serving the local community through their café and restaurant, Beachfront 32 at Kingston Beach, brothers Brett and Mark Sawford are taking the back seat in a new journey as they expand their popular artisan bar, Robbie Browns.
Having purchased the business back in 2005, as a ‘milk bar and fish and chip shop’ that housed a few pinball machines, crisps, lollies, stick ice-cream and a piano for customers to play, Mark and Brett gradually transformed the venue into the cafe/restaurant it is today.
There have been many highlights, including events, parties, weddings, celebrations, new venue openings and special evenings that have all been so memorable for the team over the past 15 years, however, what stands out to them the most are the genuine relationships they've established through the Beachfront 32 business, which have blossomed into valued friendships with both customers and staff.
“The community has been so amazing over the past 15 years,” said Brett Sawford.
“They’ve watched and supported the business continually evolve, whilst we’ve observed the community change and mature from a sleepy seaside suburb, into the popular municipality it is today.
“We’ve sadly witnessed elderly regulars pass away and locals move interstate but welcomed many more to the area.
“We’ve farewelled staff as they move on to start new careers and businesses, start families or travel overseas, but kept in touch and maintained strong friendships with most.
“Mark met his wife Jane here, back in the early days, and they're now raising two boys in the community they love.”
The beauty about operating a small business in a small suburban town that both Mark and Brett grew up in, is that they’re just as passionate about living here as their customers.
“We want to offer products and services that meet the needs of the community; our motivations are not purely financial, it's about complimenting lifestyle,” said Mark Sawford.
“This is what has driven and inspired us to continue to improve and evolve overtime and, having just signed another 15-year lease, has prompted us to develop our offerings once again.
“This is really the end of one chapter, but the beginning of a new and exciting one for us and the people that enjoy Kingston Beach.”
When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in the coming months, Robbie Browns will emerge in the space that has been occupied by Beachfront 32 since 2005.
“This is about listening to the community and better servicing the Kingborough municipality, whilst also creating a food and drink destination for Hobartians and tourists alike,” explains Brett Sawford.
“The municipality is continually growing and maturing and the demand for diners wanting to eat and drink local produce, through breakfast, lunch and dinner, is forever increasing.”
To execute their new vision, they’ve constructed a team of local hospitality professionals including internationally recognised, award-winning executive chef, Ruben Koopman.
“We’re incredibly excited, this definitely won’t be about fine dining at high prices,” said Ruben Koopman.
“This is about local produce, real food with loads of flavour and texture, served by staff wholly focused on creating a positive customer experience’.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Beachfront 32 and Robbie Browns were forced to stand down over 30 full time and casual staff.
When restrictions are eased further, Brett, Mark and the management team are looking forward to welcoming back their staff to train and re-commence work under the new direction and vision.
“We’d like to sincerely thank the community for all of their support over the past 15 years and most recently, through the COVID period,” said Mark Sawford.
“We’d also like to assure them that everything they’ve loved about Beachfront 32 will continue under the Robbie Browns umbrella, we’re simply refining our product and service offerings and creating a warmer and more inviting dining environment.”
The launch is set for mid-June and additionally, Robbie Browns will also be partnering with local Kingston distillery Overeem Distillery in the coming months, offering specialised whisky tours and experiences with long lunches and food and drink pairings.
“Thanks so much to all of our customers, staff and supporters to date.
“It’s been a great 15 years but we’re so excited for the next 15!” said Mark and Brett Sawford.
Pictured above: Kingston Beach business Beachfront 32 is closing its doors after 15 years, making way for an expansion of neighbouring business, Robbie Browns. When restrictions are eased further, Brett, Mark and the management team are looking forward to welcoming back their staff to train and re-commence work under a new direction and vision. (PS)