re:hab closes due to slump

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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