re:hab closes due to slump
ICONIC local business re:hab has closed for good after sluggish low seasons took their toll on the café’s bottom line.
A drop in tourist numbers visiting the Far North saw fewer coffee lovers kicking back at the popular hangout.
re:hab owner Stefan Hallin told the Gazette that the Port Douglas establishment had been trading at a loss.
Mr Hallin said debts had mounted up in the face of increasingly difficult economic conditions during the past two years.
“This last off-season I was still carrying some incurred costs and this previous off season we actually had seven months in a row trading at a loss which is unheard of in my 10 years of trading in town,” he said.
Java Blue Café owners Andy and Sally Viola have stepped in to take over the premises and will rename it Port Douglas Coffee Grind Café. Mr Viola said they had been in the market to buy a new business for some time and have grand plans for re:hab’s redevelopment.
“We’re thinking of making it into a café that serves breakfast, lunch and possibly food into the evening,” he said.
“The kitchen won’t be running for a while but we hope to have coffee and cake and a sandwich bar by the weekend.”
The couple will operate both businesses concurrently.
He said they had worked closely with Mr Hallin, who opened re:hab in 2007, to ensure a smooth transition.
“Without his support we wouldn’t have considered it, we wouldn’t have taken it on,” Mr Viola said.
Mr Hallin said he wished the Violas the best of luck with their new enterprise and was now considering his future career options.