Laura and Gary Fletcher, like all regulars at Mr Herbert’s, were devastated when the beloved Doubleview cafe closed in mid-2021: so much so that they decided to take over the space and ensure the local community had a communal living room to call its own.
The result of the Fletchers’ graft is Folk & Merchant, a cosy cafe that opened on Sunday with a morning of free coffee, yoga and live music. Based on the steady trickle of customers drifting in and out of the space during opening week, it seems that locals are happy to see the space back in action.
“We wanted to open our doors as soon as we could and then work out what the space needs and what the community wants,” says Laura. “We want to talk to customers and understand what they want us to be.”
While the Fletchers are keen to listen to customers, one point they’re adamant about is their support for local businesses. The sourdough, for instance, is baked by Doubleview home bakery Bread Bros; the relishes and jams are from Oohlala Preserves, and the kombucha is from Scarborough’s Hippie Kombucha. Wangara-based Kaltiva Coffee Roasters are responsible for the cafe’s custom blend while the roasters husband-and-wife owners Teia Karauria and Lloyd Rainsford can also be found working the coffee machine. The food menu keeps things simple with toast, open sandwiches and croissants and baked goods on offer.
Like its predecessor, Folk & Merchant is predominantly outdoor seating with a coffee window servicing the takeaway crowd. Inside, however, the Fletchers have expanded the cafe into the former fitness studio and added additional indoor seating and a retail space. As well as clothes from Laura’s own children’s label Lucie June (prior to becoming a cafe owner, Laura worked as a fashion buyer and interior designer), the store stocks handmade ceramics, keep-cups and wooden art from Sarai Marie. Wooden benches and stools handmade in Bali dot the room.
One of the key features of Folk & Merchant’s next phase will be transforming a car park space into an outdoor community area that will include a children’s nature play area, yoga space and additional seating.
Folk & Merchant
4/243 Herbert Street, Doubleview
0401 226 299
Mon to Sat 6am–2pm