Hi Michelle, lovely to meet you. Could we start with you giving me a bit of background about you?
I’m married to Graham and we have 3 children who are now 14, 12 & 9. We have lived in Sale for the past 17 years, so we have excellent knowledge of the local area and are very settled here. I grew up in the U.S. and some of our food at the Bean & Brush is influenced by my childhood there and good American cusine.
Graham & I met whilst working together at a Laserquest 23 years ago. We then went on to own & run our own Laserquest in the Trafford Centre, which we have had for the past 14 years. 8 years ago, we decided we also wanted to run something else alongside it, which is how the Bean & Brush was born!
The story of the Bean & Brush.
- What brought you to set up the Bean & Brush?
When I was away with my children, we visited a venue where they painted a pot and they all really enjoyed it, so that got me thinking about how I could bring a similar idea to Sale. I discussed it with Graham and after a while and crunching the numbers, we started looking around for a building. We didn’t find anything for ages and then we found this building which used to be the old post office but which was in a state, as it hadn’t been used for the last 30 years. When we got inside, the building was full of old machines & old tools which we obviously had to get rid off. We had to gut the whole building & start from scratch with the help of builders, plumbers, electricians and a project manager. It took 8 months to repair, renovate and turn it into a building which we could open as a café.
2. Why did you choose Sale for your business?
We have lived here for 17 years and our children go to school here, so we have a lot of insider knowledge. We saw an opportunity in this building and strongly believed we could turn it into a successful business and ultimately, a hub of the community which we can proudly say it has now become for many people living in & around Sale.
3. What was your thinking behind the business?
Initially, we looked for something in the birthday party market, but nothing really grabbed us, so we went back to the drawing board and believed this building to offer enough flexibility to provide a lovely cafe, plus an art studio upstairs where we could offer paint a pot/decopatch on an ongoing basis whilst also being able to offer it as a birthday party venue.
I am very picky about food. It has to be high quality for me to want to use it. It was very important to me to build relationships with local suppliers, so we understood our food’s provenance and could chat to our customers about it. The majority of our meat comes from the local butchers Taylor’s in Sale. Our sausages are sourced from Manchester company Grandad’s sausages & our salmon is of the highest quality and supplied by Out of the Blue in Chorlton. All our fruit & veg comes from Noones who are based in Stockport and have won lots of awards.
Our ethos is we would never serve anything to our customers which we wouldn’t be 100% happy to give to our children and we have always stuck to that.
4. Who is your target audience?
To begin with, our main focus was on families, parents with children and also a place for grandparents to bring their grandkids. As we also have our own art studio upstairs, where children & adults can do paint a pot and decopatch, we do birthday parties where we can combine paint a pot/decopatch with birthday party food from our kitchen downstairs. We also do adult art classes where grown ups can use their creativity to paint their own piece of crockery for their home or to give as a gift. In addition, there is wifi & as the business has grown, it has evolved into a place where people come to work on their laptops plus a place for business and networking meetings. So really now, we cater to everyone!
5. How often do you change your menu/what are your best selling dishes?
We change our menu with the seasons, so at least 4 times a year and also flexibly incorporate ingredients along the way. Our long standing, best selling dishes are cheese on toast and jumbo fishfinger sandwiches for adults and pizza for children. We do have a lot of choice available on our menu and cater for all tastes. We are of course very happy to offer gluten free and dairy free options wherever possible.
A couple more questions about you to finish off….what do you like to do in your free time?
We enjoy walking & camping with the kids. I love going out with friends when I can. As a family, we love Thai food and enjoy eating at Jitrada in Sale & independent country pubs, plus cooking & spending time at home. I am a member of a book club which makes me read and I visit family in the U.S. as often as possible.
The Bean & Brush is located on 12 Hayfield Street, Sale. M33 7XW. Tel: 0161 973 2140. Follow them on
Instagram - @bean_and_brush_cafe
Twitter - @beanandbrush
Facebook - @beanandbrush
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