Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Scott, Damon take the reigns
Long-time customers of the Deniliquin Coach House Hotel have often joked that Scott Buckley has been there so long, he may as well buy the place.
So he has . . . with partner Damon Wilson.
Scotti and Damon officially take over as owners on Monday, but have been managing the hotel for the previous owners for a number of years.
Both have extensive experience in the hospitality industry, with Damon also bringing a business acumen to the partnership.
Scotti has been employed at the Coachie — as it is affectionately known — for at least 25 years, and also has retail experience.
Damon’s hospitality career includes being international food and beverage manager at Crown Casino’s Mahogany Room, food service assistant manager at Daydream Island, corporate operations manager at Melbourne Olympic Park and as a general manager at the Melbourne Zoo.
More recently, Damon — who is originally from Mathoura — has worked in banking and finance. After returning to the region five years ago, he is currently the Regional manager for employment service Sureway.
‘‘I was already running the business for the owners who are located elsewhere, and because they were
wanting to sell I was taking people through to have a look,’’ Scotti said.
‘‘Then Damon said ‘why don’t you buy it?’.
‘‘The only hold up was not having a partner to share the workload.
‘‘And with my hospitality background, and Damon’s background in hospitality and business we met with the owners, and the ball started rolling pretty quickly after that.
‘‘People have always said to me ‘don’t you own the place yet?’, and now I can say yes.’’
Scotti and Damon say while they have their own ideas on how to improve the hotel, the changes will be gradual.
They have already started with some cosmetic upgrades, which will continue.
‘‘Some people have asked why
we would buy a pub during COVID, with all the volatility, but sometimes you just have to back yourself,’’ Damon said.
‘‘The team here is very stable, and all we want to do is improve on what’s here already with some subtle changes.
‘‘We don’t just want to be a run of the mill pub, so people can expect the level of service to just be that little bit higher.
‘‘This town has been so supportive during COVID, which really shows the metal of the people who live here.’’
There’s a lot for Scotti and Damon to manage, as the Coach House Hotel is a multi-package — with a bar, restaurant, drive through bottle shop, function room and a motel with a pool.
‘‘We’d have to be the most affordable place in town,’’ Damon said.