Ap­s­ley syn­di­cate marks five years

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Five years ago Ap­s­ley’s Bor­der Inn sat quiet and closed, just as it had for nearly three years.

The town had slowly watched as its busi­nesses closed down one by one – the gen­eral store, the ser­vice sta­tion, and fi­nally, in 2011, the pub.

With a pop­u­la­tion of about 300 peo­ple, the west Wim­mera cen­tre was in dan­ger of turn­ing into a ghost town.

The town’s res­i­dents knew they had to act, and a group of dis­trict farm­ers bought the Bor­der Inn de­spite hav­ing no prior ex­pe­ri­ence own­ing or op­er­at­ing a pub.

Five years later, the town group’s suc­cess.

The Bor­der Inn is still owned by the same syn­di­cate of farm­ers, but has hired new man­ager Amanda Wil­liams and a new chef to co­in­cide with the fifth an­niver­sary of its re­open­ing.

Ms Wil­liams said it was im­por­tant for peo­ple to con­tinue to sup­port the pub in or­der for it to thrive.

“There’s not re­ally much in Ap­s­ley other than a post of­fice and a pub,” she said.

“We think it has been pretty suc­cess­ful since it re­opened.

“For most new busi­nesses, five years is pretty good.

“The fact that a bunch of lo­cals took on the lo­cal pub just to keep it open is not some­thing you hear of ev­ery day.

“We want to try to pro­mote the Bor­der Inn not is cel­e­brat­ing the just to lo­cals, but to peo­ple in the area. As far as we’re con­cerned, we’ve got a 50 to 60-kilometre ra­dius of peo­ple we con­sider ‘lo­cal’.”

Ms Wil­liams said own­ers hoped the ad­di­tion of a new chef and an over­hauled menu would be a draw­card.

“We have a re­ally good chef. The meals are res­tau­rant qual­ity meals, but at pub meal prices,” she said.

“We have some amaz­ing spe­cials and ev­ery­thing we use is as lo­cal as we can get.

“We have an amaz­ing lo­cal wine list and I have been talk­ing to Nor­ton Es­tate to stock some of their wines as well.”

Ms Wil­liams said pa­trons could also en­joy high-qual­ity en­ter­tain­ment.

“We’ve lots of events here all the time,” she said.

“We had Bill Cham­bers, the fa­ther of Kasey Cham­bers, play­ing here the other night.

“We will have a big Aus­tralia Day event, a Valen­tine’s Day event and then in March we have a big yabby com­pe­ti­tion with huge prizes.

“There is mu­sic all through the year and we have free camp­ing out the back, so we’re try­ing to boost tourism around the place.”

Ms Wil­liams said the pub would con­tinue to thrive if peo­ple thought of it as a desti­na­tion.

“We want peo­ple to stop when they’re driv­ing through on the road to Ade­laide and ev­ery­where else,” she said.

“We want them to think of the Bor­der Inn and come here.”

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