23 new businesses that we loved seeing open in 2020
1. Ink Atelier, Lismore
Nestled in a well-known little building on Ballina Rd, Stevi-Lee Alver had been wanting to open her own tattoo parlour for a while. She has a solid reputation for fine line work, delicate work, illustrative realism and delivering a narrative behind the image. Visit her Facebook page.
2. The Spotted Pig, Lismore
Technically this wasn't a new business (they had run a cafe at Alphadale) but Iohne Simpson and Emily Gray offered something different when they opened their wine bar in the Back Alley in Lismore. They have small eats, using local produce, and fine drinks. Check them out on Facebook.
3. Stepz Fitness, Lismore
Since opening in Lismore Central in August, Stepz Fitness has aimed to be a personalised gym with capped member numbers. Franchisor of Stepz Lismore Sam Waller said he fell in love with the "non-intimidating aspect" of Stepz.
4. Bob's Tacos, Ballina
This lovely little Mexican eatery in downtown Ballina quickly gained loyal customers since opening their doors mid-year. They specialise in handmade tortillas and other tasty morsels, and the service is second-to-none. Check out their Facebook page and just try to resist the temptation to head straight there.
5. Embassy Barbershop, Lismore
Even in a pandemic, everyone still needs a haircut. That was Andy Daniels' motivation when he took the leap and opened his barber shop in Lismore earlier this year. The decision quickly paid off - his old clients found him and so did plenty of new ones. Check out his Facebook page for more information.
6. The Surf House, Byron Bay
This new accommodation business, in the heritage listed ex-Byron council chambers building, features the very first and only rooftop bar in town. It combines the building's original architecture with modern design, offering a new accommodation experience. The bar space draws inspiration from old school Californian beach towns, decked out with beach chic bric-a-brac and vintage Aussie surf posters and photos, including one featuring a young Bob Hawke.
7. Ciao Belli, Lismore
Italian couple Daniela Macheda and Sabrina Scarpulla opened the doors to their cafe in June, despite plenty of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. But since then, the cafe in Lismore Central Shopping Centre has become a popular community hub. The couple renovated the space to open the kitchen, so customers could see the staff and vice versa. Visit their Facebook page.
8. Made in Lismore, Lismore
Located in the Starcourt Arcade, this gorgeous little shop is all about spruiking the wonderful things made by the wonderful people in our city. The goal is to connect customers with beautiful local art, handmade and handcrafted products, food, market stalls, and more. Check out more details on Facebook.
9. Kidsnest, Lismore
What a year it's been for owner Rebecca Klemm. Since opening the doors in August, she's already outgrown her space and is preparing for a move to a bigger shop in a more prominent location in Lismore's CBD. A nurse by trade, the mum started her business online because she couldn't find kids products that she liked - and it seems many people had the same dilemma. Visit her Facebook page and read more about her story here.
10. Taco Bell, Ballina
It opened to great fanfare last month and now offers the "full Taco Bell experience", with contactless order kiosks, a digital jukebox, free soft drink refills and free wi-fi. In a first for NSW, the Ballina restaurant also has drive-through.
11. Lennox Smokin Barrel, Ballina
Tried, tested and successful mobile street food vendors have broadened their horizons, and leased a shopfront in Ballina. Lennox Smokin' Barrel, a mobile smoking trailer serving American-style barbecue and smoked cuisine formerly from Sharpes Beach, opened a permanent shopfront in Moon Street earlier this year. Check out their Facebook page for delicious specials.
12. Kraut World Order
When two ex-plumbers decided to create a sauerkraut business, it was the start of something special. They traded their tools for crystals and remedies and found their way to the "alternative healing realm". Self-described as "Revolutionary Hyper Spiritual Gut Cleansing", they launched in February with a goal is to reintroduce fermented foods back into the mainstream. Find their produce in shops right across the Northern Rivers, including the IGAs in Mullumbimby and Brunswick, the Federal store, The Station grocers and Spar Lismore.
13. Luna Wine Store, Byron Bay
This shop is unlike anything else you'll find in Byron Bay, more along the lines of a luxe offering from a city. It is Byron's first wine store devoted solely to small producers from around the world, and offers a large selection from those practising regenerative farming techniques and soil health, with many certified in organics or biodynamics.
14. BodyMindLife, Byron Bay
This Byron St studio has transformed 600sq m of space into a home of yoga, reformer pilates and more. Founder Phil Goodwin said the studio focused on sustainability, with the fitness and wellbeing company looking to become carbon neutral.
15. Eclair at the Bay, Byron Bay
Eclairs and profiteroles baked fresh and delivered to your door? What are you waiting for? This unique homemade pastry business is entirely dedicated to the creation of contemporary eclairs. It's like heaven, and you don't even have to leave the house. Be tempted and visit their Facebook page.
16. Curious Kookaburra, Lismore
This adorable store in the CBD is filled to the brim with gorgeous goodies. You'll spend hours browsing, and it's the perfect place to pick up a unique gift... that's if you don't just buy things for yourself! Check out some of their products on their Facebook page, or head to the store in Keen St.
17. Scoops & Candy, Lismore
Another Keen St favourite is this delightful milk bar and lolly shop. Famous for making Lismore's thickest thickshakes, you'll be coming back again and again. And it's hard to choose from the huge range of lollies and speciality candies. It's fun, it's delicious and it made us very happy in 2020. They're on Facebook.
18. Hanging Rock Flowers, Lismore
This stunning florist has gone from strength to strength in the short time its been open - so much so, they've already had to move to a bigger, brighter location, now in Woodlark St. They specialise in wildflowers, natives and edible flowers. Fresh and chemical free. Visit their Facebook page to see just some of their stunning creations.
19. Doughboy Deli, Lismore
The coronavirus pandemic meant we couldn't fly to New York for a deli sandwich, but Doughboy Deli quickly stepped in to fill that gap in Lismore. Owners Joe Steele and Jessi Smith offer fresh food at affordable prices while also supporting local producers. It's a go-to for delicious sandwiches, homemade bagels and pastries. Check out their Facebook page.
20. Byron Studios
This film production company has officially taken up a lease at the Alstonville Cultural Centre, and they are set on making the Ballina Shire a movie hub. Their longer term plans include a custom-built studio at the Southern Cross Innovation Precinct. Read more about their goals and what they offer on their website.
21. Brown Boyz, Lismore
This restaurant's secret weapon is a chef who once cooked for former Iraq president Saddam Hussein. Kesavan Kutty has 30 years experience and, as well as Hussein, has cooked for some of the world's biggest airlines. Brown Boyz owner, Tarsem Singh, said opening a restaurant had always been his dream, and battled to make it a reality even during the coronavirus pandemic.
22. Ventura Brewing, Murwillumbah
Alcoholic kombucha? Yes please! These two mates have been working on their business for two years, inspired by the idea of escaping their "mundane" jobs. They said their product is "not really cider, it's not beer and nor is it wine". Whatever it is, we're in. Read more here.
23. Red Rooster, Tweed Heads
It took a lot of hard work to overcome the obstacles and challenges of COVID-19 restrictions to get this new store open, given its location right on the NSW-QLD border. Border issues not only affected the fit-out of the new building but also recruitment and the supply chain. But things are back on track now.