Bradley Downs and Tao Setiawam are bringing the Old Dayman General Store back to life.
Bradley Downs and Tao Setiawam are bringing the Old Dayman General Store back to life.

OPEN SOON: Restaurateurs snap up historic building

TWO international restaurateurs have chosen a historic Hervey Bay building to be the home of their gourmet venture.

Bradley Downs and Tao Setiawam snapped up the old Dayman General Store after the corona crisis forced the closure of their restaurants in Spain and Bali.

The new eatery will have a focus on local, organic food with sustainable and recyclable packaging.

The couple moved to the Fraser Coast with their son in February and had planned to build a home and spend time with family.

"Within two weeks of being here and getting ready to sign contracts to build our house in Dundowran everything collapsed due to Covid-19," Mr Downs said.

"Eight businesses in Barcelona and Bali had to close and we got nervous.

So instead of spending our last savings on a house we bought this shop. It was really not in the plan. On New Year's Eve we were not looking at opening a new cafe."

The cafe owners said they were impressed by how the Australian government had handled the pandemic.

"Australia is doing that better than other countries so we know if we do it right and at least do takeaways we will have an income again," Mr Downs said.

"We don't know when our other stores will reopen."

Mr Downs said they had always been interested in historic buildings.

"We have always looked out for a heritage-style store to do this in but we couldn't find one.

"When we first saw this building we didn't even know if it was for sale but I made the call to ask and the owners were happy to sell. We made an offer and that day we got it."

The hospitality veteran said the response from the community has been overwhelming.

"It has been awesome to have such positive interaction especially because we don't know many people," he said

Mr Downs said the most memorable encounter came from a man who had fond memories of the store.

"He had tears in his eyes telling me he remembers eating lollies on the front steps with his siblings 82 years ago," he said.

With more than 1000 Facebook followers the pair expect a busy opening on Saturday with their nine new staff.

Mr Downs said hiring was difficult when so many people expressed interest.

"It was difficult because I don't like to say no to people.

"Especially when they were coming in and you could really see in their eyes that they wanted and needed that job. but there was only a certain number of jobs we had.

"Now we have stopped taking resumes all together."

Mr Downs said hiring was difficult when many people expressed interest.

"It was difficult because I don't like to say no to people.".

"Especially when they were coming in and you could really see in their eyes that they wanted and need that job. but there was only a certain amount of jobs we had.

"Now we are have stopped taking resume all together." 


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