16 Gympie region businesses we loved to see open in 2020
Plenty of new businesses flourished in the Gympie region despite a year made much more difficult than usual by the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. $14.4m Traveston ‘mega servo’ officially opens
FOLLOWING much anticipation, the $14.4 million Traveston “mega servo” officially opened at its Bruce Highway site in late November.
The servo features 24 fuelling hoses, full truck-stop amenities with ensuites and laundry facilities, a large Super 7 shop with kitchen, more than 100 parking bays, five outdoor rest areas with BBQ facilities, external and internal kids play zones, parent rooms, shower facilities and more.
The spokesman said more “exciting offerings”, such as McDonald’s, would arrive at the site by early next year.
2. Iconic Gympie business saved from extinction
GYMPIE’S iconic friendly grocer has been saved from extinction by new – and local – owners, who officially reopened the convenience store’s doors in mid-November.
Collective hearts broke when the popular Heilbronns Friendly Grocer on Duke St shut down and moved into liquidation in July this year, reportedly owing more than $165,000 to 65 creditors.
But a new day dawned when new owner Ashley Learoyd, who also owns the Monkland Convenience Store on Brisbane Rd, took over the reins.
3. Gympie beer lovers in for exciting new treat
A PLUMBER by day and brewer by night, Graham Kidd said the first time he tackled a craft beer competition there were a few nerves frothing about.
“I was frightened,” he said, noting his bar for success was the judges not telling him “don’t come back again”.
It turned out that would not be a problem. “I got first and second.”
Now he wants to give Gympie the chance to share in his award-winning talents, with plans well underway to throw open the doors of his own craft brewery – Latitude 26 Brewing – by the end of September.
4. Gympie’s only smokehouse BBQ and bar is here
THE husband and wife team behind hugely popular catering company Beauty and the Beard had a busy cooking up Gympie’s latest one-of-a-kind dining venue, a barbecue smokehouse.
Jarrod and Lauren Dangley celebrated the opening of The Bunker Smokehouse and Bar in September after a busy few months of renovating the space and creating a brand new menu.
After seeing the success they had with their barbecue brisket and ribs at events with their catering company, Jarrod and Lauren began searching for a permanent location to open a restaurant.
They found the perfect spot on Mary St.
5. Gympie mum’s quirky online business goes gangbusters
GYMPIE mum Heidi Radecker said she had been blown away by the community welcoming her home and supporting her business, Isobel Lane.
Mrs Radecker creates vintage-inspired women’s sleepwear for all sizes, from 100 per cent cotton fabric and featuring lace, florals and custom designs.
Originally from Gympie, Mrs Radecker was living in Launceston when she launched the store in 2016, reaching customers across Australia and even America.
Now the family has moved back, Isobel Lane is continuing to grow and her customers are mostly based in Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.
6. New owners reveal new name, new look for beloved Gympie cafe
DIFFERENT name, different colours, same passion for good food and good coffee.
What was known so lovingly to locals as Craft Punk Espresso became The Keen Bean on Mary in July, after Craft Punk owner Camille Nash decided to step away after a tumultuous year caused by COVID-19.
Incoming manager Raj Begeda said at the time she was looking forward to carrying on the success and popularity Ms Nash enjoyed in her time.
Ms Begeda said ready-made food options would be a priority for the Keen Bean to cater for busy local workers stopping off for a lunchtime bite.
7. Sister act adding ‘mad’ flavour to Tin Can Bay foodie scene
THE timing couldn’t have been more unfortunate for them, but dynamic Tin Can Bay duo Lynda Morrison and Jo Kerse shook off COVID-19 restrictions to launch their new business with stunning momentum.
The sisters introduced Mad MudCrab, a “casual dining breakfast and lunch bistro”, to the community in May after the pandemic caused a two-month delay to their plans.
8. Iconic Gympie cafe changes hands
FOR seven years Siriluk “Sileen” Moonthiya and Thomas Stuehrenberg were at the helm of the iconic Brown Jug Cafe in Mary St.
She and Mr Stuehrenberg have had the business on the market since December and in a bittersweet turn of events, it has just been bought by a dynamic couple from Hervey Bay.
It’s bittersweet because while Sileen is excited to begin her next adventure, she didn’t get to say “goodbye” to her customers.
9. COVID crisis won’t stop this new Gympie cafe from opening
“I KNEW I was going to be scared either way doing something like this,” said qualified chef and new small businesswoman Candy Waldock.
The courageous wife and mum of two took the plunge to open a brand new cafe – Eat At Candy’s.
The new Mary St cafe was unveiled to serve a range of modern Australian cuisine with just a hint of oriental fusion.
10. COVID-19 can’t spoil excitement for new Gympie business
CORONAVIRUS presented a big challenge for any new business trying to find its wings in 2020, but it couldn’t spoil the enthusiasm of the new faces behind the Kiah Park Horse Riding Camp.
The Keough family – Laine and Jodi and their three kids Kennedi, Bobbi-Tyla and Kodi-Laine – journeyed down from Julia Creek to become the new owners of the park, bringing with them a lifetime’s worth of experience working on cattle stations and with horses.
11. Former tattoo artist and builder become barbershop duet
TRADING on the zaniness of co-owners Tomi Rooney and Russ Zylstra and their Mellor St proximity to the Mary Valley Rattler, Loco Barber Co became the newest local spot for secret men’s business.
With a pool table, cool beers and fetching eclectic decor, on initial inspection Loco Barber Co bears a great deal in common with your typical man cave.
12. Hip new cafe opens in 130-year-old space
FAVOURITE Mary Street cafe Emilias may have closed its doors forever, but it immediately reopened next door with a new look and new name, Vespa Espresso Bar – Food on the Go.
Excited and proud owner Jodi Giorno announced the opening in late August, and was on hand as usual from 8am helping her team serve coffees, old fashioned lemonade, chocolate and vanilla shots and much more deliciousness, including Frangelico shots in coffee.
13. Kandanga pub changes hands
A NEW era beckoned for the colourful, century long history of the Kandanga Hotel, with the owners for the past five years, Doug and Carol Greensil, selling up and retiring.
The Greensills took over in 2015, eight months before the pub burnt to the ground, almost taking its news owners with it, if it hadn’t been for the quick thinking and actions of a neighbour who woke the sleeping couple up.
14. Thai with a twist: Spirit House chef heads new Gympie venue
A THAI fusion restaurant finally came to the Gympie CBD this year, offering locals an authentic yet modern twist on the cuisine.
Owner and head chef Mat Craven, who has worked in the industry for 15 years, with a stint as a chef at the famous Spirit House in Yandina, was excited to bring modern Thai cuisine to Gympie with his own restaurant, Turmeric One Fifty.
15. Sustainability meets style at new Mary Street business
A HAIR salon in the heart of Mary Street has underwent a major transformation in November, as a new owner stepped in to lead the way in the region’s sustainable salon services.
Gympie’s Katie Baker took over the empty salon space in the middle of Mary Street, and in just four weeks was able to get her new business up and running.
A hairdresser of more than 10 years, Mrs Baker said she wanted to bring a sustainable, eco-friendly approach to the industry, something she believed was lacking in the Gympie region.
16. Home style food the star at new Gympie eatery
GORGEOUS rural scenes and rustic touches formed the perfect backdrop to Gympie’s latest eatery, which is all about old-fashioned, home cooking.
The Dinner Bell Cafe inside Gympie Marketplace Shopping Centre was a dream venture for owner Jolene Atwell.
The cafe features paintings of Gympie rural scenes, by local artists on the walls, all of which are for sale.