Chances are, you have met Fran at some event or happening uptown. She is synonymous with urban living and has lent her talents, abilities and enthusiasm to various restaurants, retail events, functions, and uptown initiatives. Fran is an active member on our USJI Marketing and Events committee and is a valuable part of the Acadia Broadcasting team. Everyone who knows Fran knows she rocks style, is culture smart, and has an infallible soft spot for animals, leading the way with various SPCA fundraisers and such. We all know and love her, and uptown would not be the same without the lovely Fran Menton.
Let’s chat with Fran!
Where were you born? Where are you from?
I was born in Guelph, Ontario but we didn’t stay there long. Only three years.
We moved a lot when I was young and I had the chance to experience many different countries and cultures growing up. Eventually we ended up moving to St. Andrews, New Brunswick but that didn’t stop me from continuing to move. I am now glad to call Saint John my home.
How long have you been a part of the Uptown scene?
I became involved with the Urban Deli on King Street when I was completing my marketing courses at UNB in 2009. I decided to take an internship with the company when I graduated because I enjoyed it so much. It really was an exciting experience. I quickly fell in love with our uptown, especially the people and became involved with as many initiatives as possible.
When I first moved here I was going through a difficult time. So many people were quick to give me their support. There really is a wonderful sense of community here and that is what made me want to invest myself in this place. Now I work with Acadia Broadcasting Limited as an Advertising Consultant. I have the most amazing clients and my co-workers are like family.
Name one or two people who you look to for inspiration?
My dad. He used to frustrate me so much when I was younger but now I really admire him. I often find myself passing on his wise words to close friends.
I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful family. We are very tight and I can rely on them at any time.
Another important person in my life is Elizabeth Rowe, one of the owners of Urban Deli and Italian By Night. I remember when I first moved here I was working a double shift at the restaurant and during my break my car died in the middle of an intersection. When I got back to work I told Elizabeth what happened. Without hesitating she threw me her car keys. I couldn’t believe it! I mean, she barely knew me and here she was giving me her car for the week!!
Elizabeth really played a big role during my first few years in Saint John. She has high expectations and she really challenges you to be the best that you can be. I have so much admiration for the strong entrepreneurial woman that she is and I still to this day I still go to her for advice.
Her business partner Gord Hewitt has also been inspirational. He has a huge heart and he also challenges me to strive to be a stronger person.
I have to mention one more because there are just too many wonderful people in my life. Sandra Bain, or The Bain as I like to call her. I met her one afternoon with my mom at the Hilton. It was Canada Day and we were on the patio when it started to rain. She wasn’t under an umbrella so we invited her to join us. We had our menus over our heads so that the rain coming down off the umbrella wouldn’t soak our backs. We hit it off right away and had the best afternoon. The weather didn’t phase us as all. She inspires me to always acknowledge the good around me. To see the positive in every situation and to enjoy life.
Coffee, tea, or other?
Wine. I prefer red but in the morning I like to have a coffee from Urban Deli. I run over to the restaurant almost every morning to get a mug of their custom blend.
We have an adorable calico named Coco. She came into my life exactly five years ago along with her brother who is a serial cuddler named Booboo. They were adopted from the Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue.
Three years ago we decided to adopt one more. We have a cat ‘dog’ named Noah. He thinks he is part dog and loves to play fetch and gets excited when we have other dogs visit our home.
Most guilty pleasure?
Sipping bubbly at Italian By Night. Heels. Dresses. Cuddling animals. Especially baby animals. I love being around them. I was actually thrilled when Tracy was about to take my photo and my friend Greg appeared with his girlfriend’s puppy, I had to include him in the photo.
There are so many but I like to pretend that I am perfect (which is really not true at all). At least I tell Curtis (my boyfriend) that I’m perfect and he pretends to believe me.
What is your Uptown Insider Tip?
In the summer you have to have a glass of wine on the Happinez patio (Hapito) or enjoy one on the Hilton patio overlooking the water during sunset.
If you want to have a drink and be surrounded by pups you have to check out Picaroons General Store. You can bring your dog with you but they have to be on their best behaviour.
Best place for breakfast is Britt’s Pub. They make their hollandaise from scratch. Need I say more
Favourite vegan option is the channa masala from Thandi.
Go to En Sushi and get their butterfish sushi.
Pizza, check out Vito’s. They even have thin crust and gluten free options. Also get a delicious slice of Italian by Night’s pizza while listening to vinyls and drinking craft beer at the Five and Dime.
Dessert, don’t try the lemon sour-cream pie at Urban Deli. You will become addicted. So don’t do it 😉
Lordon and Ella are also great places for retail therapy.
City Market for fresh food. I go there once a week to pick up organic salmon and homemade salad dressings. On Saturday’s you can find amazing Turkish food. You can even sample everything before buying.
The Gallery Hop is a must. It only happens three times a year and you get to see all the amazing artists in our city. Especially attend the one that happens the same time as THIRD SHIFT.
This list can go on forever. I just love our uptown and everything that it has to offer so be sure to visit or consider living here!