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Family friends expand successful Nairn baking business by opening first cafe

From left, Megan Mclean and Nicola Mackinlay.

Two close friends from Nairn will open their own cafe at the end of November – just four months after launching a full-scale bakery.

Megan Mclean, 24, founded her own baking business Makes by Megs in June 2020 after spending the first few months of the pandemic selling her home bakes on social media.

Nearly a year and a half on, and alongside managing partner and family friend Nicola Mackinlay, 43, the pair now run a 200 square metre bakery in the town’s Balmakeith Industrial Estate – and plan on expanding the business further to include a cafe, known as MNMs.

Bounty cupcakes.

It comes after the pair, who are both from Nairn, toyed with the idea of launching one in December 2020.

The cafe, located on Leopold Street, will sell an array of home bakes, hot drinks and breakfast and lunch dishes and boast a capacity of 20.

It is anticipated to open on Saturday November 27.

More than £60K has been invested in the bakery and the cafe, both of which are rented.

More than 1,000 cakes per week

While Megan and Nicola shared the same goal of opening a cafe in Nairn, they needed one thing before any work could commence – a bakery to keep up with demand.

They found a suitable space in January this year and it was operational by June 2021.

Megan said: “In January 2021 my bakery business took off with wholesale orders and a quick phone call to Nicola resulted in a discussion of creating a bakery.

Nicola and Megan showcasing a range of fresh bakes.

“Nicola has a background in retail management and essentially gave up her job to follow our dream.

“The bakery had been under development to get it up to standard for five months.

“While this was going on we were supplying 12 outlets wholesale from a room the size of a standard living room with over 1,000 cakes and bakes going out every week. It measures around 200 square metres.

“The idea was always to have a cafe, however the need for the bakery came first as we managed to secure a few wholesalers.”

MNMs

On the bakery’s completion, the pair instantly started deliberating where to set up shop for the cafe.

They agreed to call the venue MNMs, a name that combines the initials of Megan and Nicola and their surnames.

The cafe is located on Leopold Street in Nairn.

“It’s surreal but very exciting knowing that we are expanding,” Megan continued.

“I never thought I would ever run or have my own business let alone a baking one so to this day still it still baffles me what we have achieved in such a short period of time.”

Homemade cakes and bakes

Megan, who has worked in hospitality since she was 14, rose to prominence because of her baking talents, and so there will be plentiful cakes, bakes and sweet treats available at the new premises.

There is a team of six bakers, including Megan and Nicola, and one delivery driver and handyman involved in the business.

Megan said: “We are constantly developing our ranges to stay ahead of changing trends and being innovative with our creations.

Malteser biscuit.

“Nicola and I love taking inspiration from America. A lot of our bakes, which include brownies, cookies, cookie pies, wagon wheels, blondies and more, are different to what is seen as ‘the norm’ here.

“We supply to personal customers and wholesale and also do celebration cakes, which are very upcoming and popular.

“All our cakes and bakes are made by hand, and the same goes for the jams, ganaches and sauces to complement all our sweet treats.”

While there are more, stockists include:

  • Cup & Cone, Inverness
  • Milkbar, Inverness
  • Gunsmiths Bar, Inverness
  • Highland Lassie, Inverness
  • Cafe 96, Nairn
  • The Classroom, Nairn
  • Castaway, Nairn
  • Watermill Service Station, Fraserburgh
  • Tweedy Pie, Fortrose
  • The Salt Cellar, Lossiemouth

The only way is up

While the concept of opening a cafe started out as nothing more than a mere “laugh”, Megan and Nicola are looking forward to seeing where the business goes from here.

Megan said: “We had a laugh one day in December 2020 in my kitchen about opening a cafe together and the next week a more serious chat about it. Now look at us.

Nicola and Megan outside the cafe.

“We don’t plan to stop here. We hope that this business will continue to grow and we are very excited to share our dream others.”

Visit www.makesbymegs.co.uk or Makes by Meg on Facebook or Instagram to place an order online.


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