IT’S a love story with a whole lot of passion.
Danny Horne and partner Michelle Beecroft have taken over Rushworth’s Criterion Hotel and are keen to bring the establishment back to life after receiving the keys on March 5.
And what a coincidence — it was where the couple first met.
Michelle, a Ky local, said the two fell in love with the building — and each other — so when it came up for sale it was a no-brainer.
“Danny has admired the local building for many years and for all the right reasons. He has a passion for building and loves the idea of restoring,” Michelle said.
“We’d like to grow the business and we’re committed to having a future in town.”
The couple is hoping to sponsor local clubs and events as much as possible to support the town.
“Danny talks a lot about how young people in this town are our future so he wants to encourage and promote them in any capacity,” Michelle said.
Danny said a country pub is the heart of a town and the couple are hoping to make some slight changes.
“I want to give back to the community by breathing new life into this beautiful old hotel and preserve its historic past,” he said.
“However, it’s a pretty big investment and commitment, so it comes at a cost.”
Having previously worked at the pub, Michelle is doing a Certificate IV in Small Business and she said she’s looking forward to working with the previous staff including Taylor and Jamie Cornford.
And the couple have some grand plans — although they’re not getting ahead of themselves.
“We’re hoping to make it a friendly, welcoming, family atmosphere here,” Danny said.
To begin with, there’ll be a few subtle changes and additions; more lighting, a paint job and a different tap setup behind the bar.
Michelle and Danny hope to open upstairs as a B&B, however that’s further down the restoration road.
The pair will be holding a grand opening on Easter Saturday night with free entry, specials and live entertainment from 8pm-11.30pm.