Economy

Time for a cuppa

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The Heritage Tea Rooms business was not a hurried affair for founders Allen and Michelle Sharpe. See them tell the story of the transformation of the oldest building in Queensland into a going concern.

Play See the video of Allen and Michelle Sharpe.

Allen and Michelle Sharpe run the Heritage Tea Rooms. When the Sharpes took over the building, it was the oldest known building in Queensland, and began life as the Eureka Hotel in 1865.

Situated 30 minutes west of Townsville, the Sharpes were in no hurry to transform the old hotel, taking up to seven years to not only fix up the derelict buildings (which included chasing out the bats and snakes) but also taking their time to research and study how best to start up their business.

And the luxury of already having jobs, and the time to spare, also meant the Sharpes could operate to a strict budget and do all the work themselves, meaning that opening day was a debt-free affair.

With support from regional tourism organisations, they also focused on getting the right offering mix and the right staff to deliver. Sourcing a very rare (and expensive) coffee from Sumatra also generated great press coverage, and ended up being quite a marketing coup for Heritage Tea Rooms, as media outlets soaked up the story.

 

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