Updated: Oct 28
The impacts of COVID-19 forced many local businesses to get creative with their business models and ways they could better serve their markets. For Abermain Hotel that meant turning an unusable pool room into a long-awaited local cafe.
Standing in the almost-completed cafe at Abermain Hotel it's hard to imagine the cosy space was ever a pool room, thanks to the hard work and creative flair of hotelier Jade Smith and partner Cass Ponchard.
"We'd been thinking about this for a while, mostly because our accommodation has been really popular and there was nowhere nearby for our guests to get breakfast," he said.
"Then COVID hit and government restrictions meant we could no longer use the pool room. We also had some time because of the closures and figured it was the right time to get started on creating our own cafe to serve both our guests and the local community."
Once open, the cafe will serve breakfast and lunch from 8am Thursday to Friday and 7am Saturday and Sunday. Lunch is also on the menu with a mix of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and salads made by the hotel chef.
"A lot of the locals are already asking when it will be open," Jade said. "Around here everyone loves coffee and there's not a lot of options. We 've also got an awesome coffee machine ready to go as soon as the counter is finished and I'm expecting it to be really popular. These days not everyone wants to come to the pub to drink schooners. Those days are gone. People also want to catch up, have a coffee, something to eat, bring their families, and sit outside. There's so much more to pubs now than just getting a drink."
These days not everyone wants to come to the pub to drink schooners. Those days are gone. People want catch up, have a coffee, something to eat, bring their families, sit outside. There's more to pubs now than just getting a drink..."
And if COVID wasn't enough, the hotel's chef also recently broke his hand leaving Jade looking for even more outside-the-square ideas to keep the business running. That's when he decided to introduce a weekly rotation of food trucks - an initiative the local community has fallen in love with.
"The timing was actually good because with COVID all the food trucks were impacted as well with no festivals or weddings. So now we have a different food truck every week. They're here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and we get more people than ever coming in to eat. People are even asking at the start of the week what truck will be here for the weekend."
Food trucks are currently running at the hotel every week from Thursday to Sunday and the cafe is expected to open in the next couple of weeks.