COMING home and establishing roots in business after being away for several years experiencing the world is an enviable life plan for those with the will to do it.
This is just what Macksville born Ben Fuller has been able to do.
After a 15-year career in the Army, Ben and his wife Leanne have taken the plunge to leave the transient military life behind and have purchased a popular Macksville cafe to give their family some stability and re-establish in Ben's hometown.
Before Ben joined the Army he worked in retail, was a house painter and a swimming coach. The lure of the military lifestyle and the promise of job security led him on a professionally rewarding journey where he achieved all that he had set out to as a soldier and reached the rank of Sergeant.
Ben will continue to serve in uniform although now in a part-time capacity with 41 RNSWR, an Army Reserve unit here on the Mid North Coast.
Leaving the Mid North Coast in 2005, Ben became a logistic specialist in the Army where his journey saw him posted to Brisbane, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Townsville and Albury.
During 2014 Ben saw operational service in Afghanistan.
Having kids at a critical time in their schooling and looking to be closer to their extended family, Ben and Leanne discovered that Macksville's iconic Dougie's Takeaway business was on the market.
They took the plunge early this year to begin running this business. Ben laments the unforeseen COVID-19 situation has resulted with trading being quite a bit slow initially however, he is confident that business will get back to normal as restrictions ease.
Ben concedes that owning and operating a takeaway business is a big change from the Army however he and Leanne are tackling their latest challenge head on and are sure their hard work will pay off.
With the change of ownership, comes a change of name and the Princess St, Macksville, business will soon be known as Ben and Lenny's.
On the front of Ben and Lenny's you will see a symbol that identifies the shop as an Australian Veterans-owned business. Ben also supports another veterans owned business known as Warfighter Coffee which is a Townsville based coffee company started in Townsville by two young veterans whose products are very popular among the veteran community and increasingly in the mainstream consumer market.
By having a coffee at Ben and Lenny's you are effectively supporting two Veteran-owned businesses.
Ben and Lenny's has also joined forces with the We're Here initiative by offering free coffee and refreshments to veterans and their families between the hours of 11am and 1pm each Saturday.
We're Here was started by the ex-service community of the Nambucca Valley to encourage those leaving the Defence Force to consider settling here and has the support of local and state governments.
Before the COVID-19 restrictions, veterans were able to go to Goodtime Charlies Cafe in Nambucca Heads on Saturday mornings for coffee funded by We're Here with money raised by the Nambucca Heads RSL Women's Auxiliary.
I am pleased to announce that from July 20 both Goodtime Charlies and Ben and Lenny's will be the place for veterans and their families to grab a coffee between 11am and 1pm on Saturdays with the compliments of the We're Here initiative.
If you would like more information on the We're Here - Nambucca Valley initiative visit us on Facebook.