Lifestyle

It’s cheers to a new era

By John Lewis

When the weight of history looms, it pays to have broad shoulders.

Or better still — a pair of them.

As Greg and Brooke Brassil take the keys to Shepparton’s Terminus Hotel later this month, they will be holding not just door keys, but more than 140 years of Shepparton history, drinking yarns and iconic architecture in their hands.

For the past 76 years, the hotel has been owned and operated by the Stainsby family.

Last November Rob Stainsby and his sisters Dianne and Karen ended their family’s three-generation connection to the ‘‘Termi’’ when the freehold was sold to Shepparton businessman and accountant Steve Di Petta.

So a new chapter begins in the life of a place which has seen the arrival of the railway, two fires, several rebuilds, new bars, meals, and of course — gallons, then litres of beer.

Mr Di Petta said he originally bought the building as a new office for his burgeoning accountancy business housed in the Amber Court premises on the corner of Ashenden and Corio Sts.

‘‘We’ve outgrown the place — and I wanted to keep The Terminus in Shepparton hands,’’ Mr Di Petta said.

Then his wife Vanetta stepped in.

‘‘She said we need to keep it as a hotel. She said it’s an icon with so much history — and I always listen to my wife,’’ Mr Di Petta said.

He said he knew straightaway who was going to run the business.

‘‘I couldn’t think of anybody else — I have 110 per cent complete faith in Greg. I’ve known him for 21 years and he’s a fantastic person. He knows the business of food,’’ Mr Di Petta said.

Mr Brassil, who will be the new licensee, said he intended to keep The Terminus as a traditional family pub — with a few tweaks to attract a broader age range.

‘‘We plan to keep it as an original pub — no gambling at all. We’re really excited and we want to do the place proud — give it a new lease of life,’’ he said.

Renovations

Mrs Brassil said the business would close for a month from the end of June to allow some internal refurbishments.

‘‘It’s a little dark inside. We want to brighten it up with soft ambient lighting — the bar is a beautiful open space,’’ she said.

She said there were no plans for structural changes to the building.

Pippins will remain as a function room, bistro dining will be retained and the upstairs area will still offer accommodation.

‘‘We want to build a wider clientele, we want to keep the families, but attract younger customers too,’’ Mrs Brassil said.

Greg and Brooke Brassil have deep roots in Shepparton.

They were friends in Guthrie St Primary School and then in Shepparton High School.

Their marriage has also seen them develop a rolled gold business partnership.

From running a mobile coffee van at music festivals, they opened GB Coffee as a single shop front in High St near the Yahoo Bar nine years ago.

Brooke was pregnant with daughter Daisy while she and Greg served early-morning pick-me-ups to commuters.

When their little three-table coffee shop moved to Maude St with designer tables and chairs and an expanded menu, they pressed the accelerator pedal on their business journey.

Wide experience

Two years later, they opened Noble Monks boutique beer and wine bar at the north end of Maude St.

Next stop was Melbourne with Addict Food and Coffee in Johnson St, Fitzroy.

A year later they were in Little Collins St with All Good Coffee.

Now they are back in Shepparton and looking forward to staying put for a while.

‘‘We really want to settle in for a bit now. I’d love it to be long term,’’ Mrs Brassil said.

Mr Brassil said he had never advertised any of his businesses for sale — people just made offers that were too hard to refuse.

‘‘People see us working really hard in the place, making personal connections with customers. We try to keep it real and honest — and it’s worked for us,’’ he said.

Mrs Brassil said they already had bookings for functions at The Terminus.

‘‘The interest has been crazy — we’ve even got Christmas bookings,’’ she said.

The Terminus will close for refurbishments during July and open in early August.

For more information, or to contact the new business owners email [email protected]