AFTER buying the Mayfield Hotel a year ago, publicans Josh Gamgee and Campbell Rogers poured money into renovating the joint.
"We just saw potential in it, in terms of how it was being traded and what we could do. We opened up the bottlo to be self-service and renovated the drive-through to push that side of the business, that's where we saw the most value," says Mr Gamgee.
"We renovated the TAB and made it a good viewing space for punters and then in June we renovated the bistro with a lick of paint and put the finishing touches on it and then we renovated the function room and the rooftop section to be a usable space."
On March 23 the hotel, which had functions booked up as far as June, was closed down by the government's public health orders.
It's not all doom and gloom, thanks to elbow grease and community spirit.
Though Mr Gamgee and Mr Rogers have had to entirely shut their other pub, Broadmeadow's Sunnyside Tavern, they have moved swiftly to adapt their improved bottle shop to sell products ranging from meat cuts from its local supplier to toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
"The bar and functions, which are a huge add-on for a business, have been decimated because we are closed. But the bottle shop has maintained and maybe increased a bit because of the extras," says Mr Gamgee.
Next week, the publicans, who applied for JobKeeper stimulus, will ask staff to return to the hotel's bistro to cook and package up meals it will sell at its bottle shop drive-through, and deliver.
The hotel has also partnered with Kombi Keg and is running six taps of changing beer lines it is selling tap beer in Growler and Squealer bottles for take away. "Because Gavin who runs it hasn't been able to do functions we said, 'Mate, park it in the car park', "says Mr Gamgee.
In more positive news, the publicans have received around $8500 in direct business from Molycop's Waratah plant, which decided to give each of its 550 workers a $50 voucher to spend at local businesses.
Molycop Australasia president Michael Parker, based between Sydney and Newcastle, said the company's operations had not been affected by the pandemic because it was an essential service.
Mr Parker said the company, which manufacturers speciality steels converted into railway wheels and alloy balls used in grinding mills, had acted ahead of the government restrictions to implement rigorous on-site health and safety controls, including measuring temperatures of workers.
He said Molycop wanted to reward its Waratah team for its commitment in following protocols as well as support small local businesses.
"Many of them are facing more difficult circumstances than us," he said, adding the company would pay the businesses directly then allow employees to draw on the sum.
Mr Gamgee, who expects pubs and clubs to be the last venues to reopen when restrictions are lifted, said the support was extremely welcome.
"A lot of Molycop staff come through here and we're so grateful to them," he said.
A Molycop spokesperson said the initiative would inject a total of $30,000 into eight businesses nominated by staff.
Together, not Alone is a partnership between Out of the Square, the Newcastle Herald and the Greater Bank. Its aim is to inspire some positivity in these difficult times and will feature a series of stories that explore kindness, innovation, creativity, celebration and mindfulness among businesses and the community.
If you have a story worth telling, contact Penelope Green: firstname.lastname@example.org
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