With resilience, heart & the camaraderie of the Molong community, Sally Brazier & Kate Redfern opened their cafe & lifestyle store after being faced with the most devastating flood Molong has ever seen. Together they withstood adversity & turned Lime & Stone into a destination filled with light, joy & a damn good cup of coffee.
Tell us about Lime & Stone.
Lime and Stone is a cafe and lifestyle store in the heart of Molong. We opened in September 2020 and offer locals and travellers delicious coffee, fresh seasonal light meals and a selection of home-baked goods. In May 2022, we ventured out and purchased our own building and painstakingly renovated it ourselves. Being only weeks away from opening our doors in November, Molong was hit with its most devastating flood/storm event on record. As a result, our new shop and our existing store were utterly wiped out, along with the entire Molong business district. It’s been an extremely difficult few months for our community to navigate, of which we are still very much in the recovery stage. With all the devastation an event like this creates, we have also seen the incredibly positive side of humanity. Our generous and compassionate community has rallied behind each and every local business to assist in getting us back on our feet. This community spirit has given us the drive, determination and strength to rebuild our new space and open a shop that we are proud of and, hopefully, our community can enjoy.
What is unique about Lime & Stone?
We found this question challenging to answer. It’s hard because we know what makes us “us,” but it’s difficult to put that into words. I think about the endless hours and passion we have both invested into Lime and Stone and at the end of the day, we’ve wanted to create a beautiful and welcoming space with a strong community focus. But more than that, we have poured our heart and soul into Lime & Stone. It is who we are. What you see is what you get, and we hope that shines through and makes Lime and Stone unique from anything else.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Our partnership's biggest strength is our ability to adapt, manage change, and be flexible with our business direction. We hit a lot of challenges in the early days with COVID-19 and the uncertainty around trading through that period, and then we topped it off with our town’s biggest flood on record, but from each experience, we’ve grown bigger and better from it. The worst events certainly bring out the best in people, and we saw that with the support of the Molong community, friends and passers-by. For which we will be forever grateful!
What advice would you give another woman looking to start her own business in the hospitality industry?
Sally: Our plan wasn’t to open a cafe. It was homewares, with coffee. Within the week, we quickly realised we had “accidentally” opened a cafe. So, we needed to reassess and clearly understand the “why” and “purpose” of the bigger picture and what we were hoping to achieve. Small businesses and hospitality are tough, so referring back to these initial goals on the rough days is imperative. It is also important to surround yourself with staff and people who represent the same core values and energy as you.
Kate: Do it, but be ready to work long hours. Nothing can prepare you for the rigours of a hospitality business. But the pros and rewards outweigh the cons. Find your unique offering, stick to it, and go into business with someone who makes you laugh!
Do you have a woman leader as a mentor, or are there specific women who have inspired you and why?
Sally: Easily my mother and grandmother. Two amazing, hard-working women. Both are clever, creative and definite fast walkers. They have instilled many essential values and shaped me into who I am today. They are resilient and selfless, have an incredible value of family and have always supported me with my goals and how to accomplish them. My grandmother worked on her family farm until she was 75, constantly on horseback managing her shorthorn cattle. She would juggle a massive workload, always preparing a cold or hot lunch with dessert, served with custard made from the cow that she had milked at first light. It was so impressive and, at the time, likely under-appreciated. I wish she knew the imprint she has branded on my life and how grateful I am for her resilience, knowledge and generosity.
Kate: There are so many incredible women leaders within our local community. You don’t have to look far to see the strength behind our town, from local business owners like Alice Druve (The Molong Pharmacy) and Kirsty Evans (Cheney Suther Lawyers), who not only run their incredibly successful businesses but also dedicate countless hours to volunteering on pre-school committees, charity events or helping our business community to rebuild following our town’s devastating flood.
These women and many others in our community inspire me daily with their drive, determination and passion for business and our local community. But the one woman that inspires me the most is definitely Sal. I’m convinced no one on this planet could outwork her (or outwalk her, for that matter)! Her energy and can-do attitude are what excite me about our business. She’s crazy, funny, the best-sounding board and incredibly business savvy. Her leadership and belief in the growth of our business motivate me every day.
Location: Molong, NSW
Photography: Em & The Wild Things
Facebook: Lime and Stone Molong