Push through and good stuff happens
Racine is a well-known name around town whether it be for their restaurant, bakery or wedding location, and for good reason.
This month the team behind the name, Willa and Shaun Arantz and their two children, celebrate a pretty big occasion, their 10th Racine Anniversary.
“We are quite blown away! When you get into this industry you sort of think you will give it five years so to be ten years and getting better and still loving it is a pretty big milestone,” said Willa.
Willa and Shaun first met in Sydney, then they both travelled to London to work in restaurants. They lived there for three years before coming home to manage the Mayfield Garden Restaurant.
“We then wanted to do our own thing and this opportunity came up (Racine) and we moved over here. The original owners were a French couple so that is where the name comes from, although Shaun is French trained,” said Willa.
Over the years the family have had many ups and downs, but it looks like they have finally found their feet, and there is no stopping them now.
“It hasn’t all been great, it has been quite tough. I am glad we pushed through and I think that it is a lesson for anybody who has a business, to push through because that is when the good stuff happens. Remember what you are good at and what you love.
“We had this tiny dream when we first met, and we have fulfilled that, and it has been better and bigger than we could have ever imagined it to be.
“I just think it is unreal and it is so exciting to be 10 years in and know that what we have achieved is only half way there, so I can’t wait for the next 10 years and I really mean that,” said Willa.
Willa and Shaun took over Racine in 2008 and since then they have made it a multifaceted business. Five years in business they decided to open the bakery simply because “we were making bread here for the restaurant and people wanted to buy it. We started doing the markets then it just grew and grew.” Then two and a half years ago they opened the function space.
“Somebody once said to me ‘how do you feel about creating a legacy for Orange’ and I never even thought of it like that but I am really proud of it,” said Willa.
The restaurant is like a family home with the kids even chipping in. The Arantz family have made Racine their own and Willa assures us there are more exciting things on the horizon.
“We have our children here and I think they are so lucky to grow up in an environment like this. They help to make croissants and they help set the table (badly), but they do try. It is great having them as a part of it.
“It is a lovely life for them, this spot is so unique. This space is just such a magical space. When we came here there was no garden, it was just all rocks. I dug it until I had blisters on my hands. We now have a vegie garden out the back, so it is all coming together now.
“We have such big plans for this place. I would really like to expand the vegetable gardens and I would like it to be a holistic experience with cooking schools, farm shops, gardens and a place which is a real experience where you can come and experience the best of Orange,” said Willa.
Racine is a buzz this time of year with Willa explaining “it looks like a bee hive with everyone working together and I love it”. So, with the team in full swing with bookings up to their ears, the official celebration of 10 years will be held next year in February when things have quietened down.
“We will get all of our regulars and people who have supported us over the years and put on a dinner to say thank you to our customers. We have some amazing customers who have supported us,” Willa said.