A fam­ily’s leap of faith pays off


WHAT do you do when you want to escape FIFO life, to keep your hus­band home for more than a week at a time and to keep your young fam­ily to­gether?

You take a leap of faith and buy a coun­try pub.

At least that’s what Jaimee Neilsen-O’Don­nell and hus­band Stephen O’Don­nell did when they pur­chased Miles Wind­sor Ho­tel last year and since then, they haven’t looked back.

“We’ve picked up a lot of busi­ness with me be­ing a lo­cal and us be­ing young, full of en­ergy and ideas, and love do­ing what we do.

“It makes a dif­fer­ence to run­ning your busi­ness ev­ery day be­cause fail­ure is not an op­tion,” Mrs Neilsen-O’Don­nell said.

Stephen, an Ir­ish na­tive, was work­ing away in Kar­ratha, Western Aus­tralia, on a 4/1 ros­ter af­ter the cou­ple re­turned from over­seas four years ago fol­low­ing the birth of Al­fie, their first child.

The pair pur­chased the ho­tel af­ter see­ing an op­por­tu­nity to make a long-term in­vest­ment in the com­mu­nity and bring back a sense of town spirit to Miles fol­low­ing the re­sources boom.

The cou­ple’s new di­rec­tion was also driven by their de­sire to se­cure Stephen work closer to home so they could fo­cus on their young fam­ily.

“We saw an op­por­tu­nity to be a fam­ily friendly busi­ness and to be a part of the com­mu­nity,” Mrs Neilsen-O’Don­nell said.

“The last few years when we were look­ing for an exit strat­egy from FIFO, we needed to re­group and be to­gether. We thought ‘this is some­thing we can do’.

“That’s the road we wanted to go down.

“It was try­ing for us, but we didn’t have much op­tion. If it wasn’t for the ho­tel we’d be apart.

“Al­fie is four and Teddy is now 10 months, so we had a baby in Septem­ber and bought a pub in the Novem­ber.

“We bought the ho­tel to have a job to­gether and to keep our fam­ily to­gether... and we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port of the com­mu­nity;

We saw an op­por­tu­nity to be a fam­ily friendly busi­ness and to be a part of the com­mu­nity.

— Jamiee Neilsen-O’Donell

we love it.”

Since then, the cou­ple has focused on cre­at­ing a bou­tique gas­tropub which nods to their time trav­el­ling in Europe and the United King­dom.

“Stephen’s got an eye for craft beer from his global trav­els and we’re a bou­tique pub do­ing great meals,” Mrs Neilsen-O’Don­nell said.

“From here we want to con­tinue to do more work to turn the front into a gas­tropub with high stools and some Ch­ester­field so­fas, so peo­ple can come in for a nice beer or a nice glass of wine and a con­ver­sa­tion with their mates.

“We’re also look­ing to­wards re­vamp­ing the bot­tle shop and look­ing at host­ing wine tast­ing sea­son­ally.”

The Wind­sor Restau­rant menu of­fers a range of clas­sic pub meals and gourmet piz­zas for lunch and din­ner seven days a week, as well as a well-stocked range of craft and tap beer and bou­tique wines.

The ho­tel can also cater for func­tions of up to 50 peo­ple and of­fers a daily packed lunch for min­ers, trades­peo­ple and long-term vis­i­tors.

“The lo­cals like to have some­where dif­fer­ent to go, we get our ev­ery­day lunches in here and if peo­ple have events they come to us and that’s re­ally spe­cial,” Mrs Neilsen O’Don­nell said.


NEW LIFE: Stephen and Jaimee Neilsen-O'Don­nell own the Miles Wind­sor Ho­tel.

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