When husband and wife duo, Zoe Proctor and Dean Atkins, bought the historic Somers General Store, they wanted to bring a local legend back to life, and in 2 years, they’ve done just that.
After a few too many days commuting to the city from Somers, Zoe and Dean decided it was time to work closer to home, and in 2019 they bought the existing business on The Boulevard and transformed it into The Somers General we know today.
Initially opened in 1927 as the Boulevard Cafe & Post Office Store, the store has seen many an upgrade and changes of hands in it's lifetime. Now, nearly 100 years on, it's found it's place as a relaxed beachfront cafe and homewares store full of character.
“We wanted to bring it back as a community hub for Somers,” says Zoe, “its a meeting place for locals.” It's also home to the local Post Office, so the spot serves as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the people of Somers. Serving coffee, small bites and meals, The Somers General also stocks produce, bread, and dairy – and their fridge contains locally-made and house-made goods to stock your fridge and pantry.
The Somers General feels like a home away from home, with vintage inspired decor, an abundance of greenery, and views of the beach and out to Phillip Island. It's not difficult to see why people are drawn here from near and far.
“It’s really a destination spot, somewhere to eat, drink and shop” says Zoe, who hand pots each plant for sale, and selects all of the homewares available, from organic skincare to handmade pottery, with her minimalistic approach to living in mind.
The cafe prioritises “supporting local where we can,” using Melbourne-based coffee roasters Dukes Coffee, St Andrews Beach Brewery and Jetty Road Brewery beers, plus Mornington Peninsula wine, and fresh local produce in their meals. The cafe has a range of options described as “classic feeds with a twist – we let the quality, local ingredients speak for themselves.”
“It’s a friendly place, with a warm atmosphere” says Zoe, who’s young family were an inspiration for the rebuild of The Somers General brand. “We needed somewhere in the area to bring our young kids for a Sunday afternoon coffee, ice-cream or milkshake.”
In the midst of Melbourne's stage 4 lockdowns in 2020, like many other local venues, The Somers General moved to take-away only, and with “plenty of support from the locals” they made it through, “but it was definitely an adjustment for us,” says Zoe.
The venue which is across the road from Somers beach, sees many a beach-goer and dog-walker visit, especially during peak season in summer, when The Somers General is at its busiest. “We’re a seasonal business” says Zoe, “it’s always crazy in the warmer months.”
It’s the perfect place to nail those beach day snacks, but is equally as lovely in Winter for a cosy rainy-day getaway too, with a ‘free library’ full of books and magazines to go along with your coffee.
The Atkins family love the Peninsula for its picturesque landscape and relaxed environment, “its nice to come home from work and still feel like you could be on a holiday", and we'd agree!
The Somers General is open 7 days a week, 7:30am to 5pm.