A couple from Melbourne's east with experience managing licensed venues has bought Rupanyup's only pub.
The Commercial Hotel had been closed since August 31, 2018, but Chris and Debbie Ormrod have purchased the Cromie Street property and settled on Friday.
Mr Ormrod, a forklift driver at Cadbury, said the couple had lived in Lilydale in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, but planned to eventually leave their full-time jobs and move to the town.
"We had been looking around for a place to do up, and and one that had some accommodation as well as a bar and restaurant," he said.
"When it came up, Debbie went and had a look and had a chat to some of the locals, and what sold us on the place was the enthusiasm of the community to get behind everyone."
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Mr Ormrod said while the couple was renovating the entire building, it wasn't changing the layout so much as repainting.
"We are conscious there is a lot of important and colourful history here - there are some places at the bar where people have sat where there's a plaque, for instance," he said.
"It will still be that familiar pub to all the residents, but it will have a slightly more modern twist on it."
Mrs Ormrod said the couple would not live on the site of the hotel as the previous owners did.
She said she planned to start a website for the hotel that would market it to tourists to the Silo Art Trail as a place to stay.
"We'll really try and get tourists from the Asian market in," she said. "We'll try and get companies on board that might be interested to stay at the accommodation and then do the whole silo trail."
She said the hotel had nine rooms which the couple hoped to make available from the middle of January. She said a further six rooms detached from the property would take longer to get up to standard due to termite damage.
"We've done something similar in Tasmania. We own Mount Black Lodge on the west coast, and we got that about a year ago and renovated it up, so we want to do that same thing here.
"The lodge in Tasmania was closed for a year, and we had to start it from scratch. In Tassie we got to the point where the lodge is fully booked, we've got someone who manages the bar and restaurant and the accommodation I run remotely, so it will be more hands-on for this property."
Mr Ormrod said the couple was looking for someone who could look after the bar and restaurant when they weren't in the town. He said anyone interested could contact them on 0428 603 205.
Mr and Mrs Ormrod said they hoped to have the hotel open for meals on weekends by March, when the Rupanyup 150 celebrations took place in the town.
Rupanyup will celebrate 150 years since its founding in 2020, with a gala, reunions, historic tours and live music planned between March 6 and 9.
The opening will come in the same month a community retail hub - known as Enterprise Rupanyup - is set to open in the town.
The project, supported by a $500,000 contribution from the state government, will see a not-for-profit build a new pharmacy, supermarket, bakery and community space on a block of land at the center of town.
Prior to its full opening, Mrs Ormrod said the couple planned to open the hotel's doors for a few hours on New Year's Eve to give people a taste of what to expect.
"The liquor licence is current, so we were thinking we might have a few drinks to see if any locals want to come in," she said.
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