Francois and Jane Marx stand outside their cafe in Richmond which they opened last year. Called ‘Long Street Coffee,’ the cafe takes its name from a vibrant and culturally diverse street that is well known in Cape Town, South Africa, the country where Francois is originally from.
After crowdfunding $18,746 Francois and Jane converted the laneway garage into the stylish cafe it is today. It’s got a basketball hoop outside, free wifi, and colorful art on the wall opposite the cafe, making it the kind of cafe you can linger in. That was the aim according to Jane, who is keen for customers to feel like they don’t need to rush off.
The duo are passionate about refugee rights and want to help young refugees and asylum seekers find their way in Australia by providing them with real employment opportunities. On their website, they write “Refugees are not a burden, but an asset to our society. They simply need the same thing we all do, a fair go.”
Francois has been a familiar face for me since I first met him back in 2011 when he was the bartender at Melting Pot’s weekly ‘Song Writers in the Round’ event. These days he’s a hard-working cafe owner and as if that wasn’t challenging enough, the pair of them are now expectant parents too!
Their cafe is just a few blocks from my place and despite being on a somewhat hidden away laneway it clearly keeps the both of them very busy. However, after months of working almost without a break, the pair will be taking four days off over the long Easter holiday weekend, enjoying a well-earned gateway on the Mornington Peninsula.
Stand at this location using Google Street View.