If you’ve ever set foot in the quirky cafe of ‘Bean to?’, located in Beaudesert, you’ll know that there are always new eclectic treasures to feast your eyes on. A popular cafe where the locals meet, owner Sonya Van Gent has made sure that she not only serves great coffee but also supports local farmers and producers too which is something she is so incredibly passionate about.
“I have always, ALWAYS, only ever thought that I am just ‘the little guy’. I only ever want to stay ‘the little guy’; the one who works within its own community buying local goods, supporting other ‘little guys’. It’s personal - the ‘little guys’ put their hearts into products. It’s their passion and love, it’s individual and it’s imperfect (in a perfect way). It’s grown with love and stitched by hand. It’s made in kitchens after the kids have gone to bed or grown in gardens that have been dug with grandma’s shovel. It’s part of a person, of a family and a tradition. You’ll never get the same again as it’s a beautiful one off.”
Sonya’s passion started when she worked in a beautiful cafe on Macleay Island where the owners had an amazing garden and used beautiful fresh produce. This was the only small step she needed to start her first small cafe in Canungra, ‘Bean In’ after having the opportunity to purchase the old ‘Loggers Inn’.
“I first started in Canungra with ‘Bean In’. Then oneday, I was sitting at the intersection in Beaudesert and saw the old Buxton’s shop was up for lease and called that afternoon. It was the floors that sold me. Those beautiful old timber floors just melted my heart. The cafe was an empty shell so we painted it, oiled the floors and tracked all around Brisbane collecting the major bits to make the shop a cafe.”
While this eclectic little cafe was coming together, the name became one of the more difficult tasks in the shop project. Unable to come to an agreement, it was Sonya’s dad who came up with the name.
“My other cafe ‘Bean In’ was always referred to as the ‘Bean’ and one day while we were all sitting outside ‘Bean In’, dad says, “why not Bean to?”. It was perfect. We literally all said ‘yesss’ together.”
When starting her cafe, Sonya wanted to make sure that her food was made from scratch with fresh local produce. With a love of fresh food and different style of dishes, the idea of having a special place to share with beautiful people was the essence of her cafe.
“I’m simply in love with its (Bean to?) whole presence and what it does to me every day. It’s home. I couldn’t imagine my life being anywhere else. I honestly miss it when I’m away from it. ‘Bean to?’ is my heart and soul and I’m unbelievably blessed to have it be a part of me.”
Sonya feels that ‘Bean to?’ has created its own individuality by itself. With it’s laid back style and individual pieces, the homely feel is what makes it unique. While the shop may have created its own individuality, the staff have helped this little business grow to the successful cafe it is today.
“When we opened, I had three staff, six tables, eighteen chairs and two fridges within the first six weeks. Today, I have an amazing team of fifteen staff, nine tables, room to sit thirty people and four fridges!”
Bean to? not only supports the local producers but also the craft community. Currently, they stock a range of homemade soaps sourced from Canungra, locally made pickles and relishes and beautiful homemade gifts.
“The big shops will always survive and always be there. But if we could just keep our support local, within our own space, the change would be incredible!”