Club Mudgee has cut the ribbon on their new Soldiers Café, the showpiece of a major renovation totalling around one-million dollars which is seen as an important step in the evolution of the industry into the future.
The new coffee shop is the most noticeable addition, but the kitchen – which it backs onto – was also modified and extended, adding new flooring, benches, sinks, and wall tiles, and relocating the cool room and dry food storage.
Club president Scott Fittler said that they did their research on the ways that others within the industry are looking to the future and said they were confident this was a positive step.
“We went to the club industry and other clubs and had a look around to make sure that what we thought was right was the right thing to do,” he said.
“We saw some interesting things, but a lot of clubs that are of a similar size in similar areas had already done this and it was a huge success for them.
“It was a realisation for us as a board that the whole club industry had to diversify. We saw things like clubs that had motels, childcare centres, gyms, pools, even butcher shops – they were thinking about what they needed to do to move with the times.”
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Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, was on hand to officially open the renovation and said, “this work is all about bringing Club Mudgee into the future and looking to the future about who will use this club and how it will look”.
“Most importantly, it will help ensure Club Mudgee continues to be that integral part of the life of this community for many years to come,” he said.
Mr Fittler said that the project was carried out in two months, with just two weeks wiggle-room, at one point the kitchen had to relocate upstairs with the dining room located on the ground floor. He acknowledged all those involved in making it work – including staff for carrying on with their duties during works and the tradesmen, many local, who worked on it.
“We had a great team that was able to bring this whole project together,” he said.
The name was decided with the input of patrons and saw a big response.
“We thought that it would be a good idea to ask the members to make a suggestion for what we should call it and we thought we’d end up with a dozen or so names that we’d be able to pick from. We ended up with 170 suggestions,” Mr Fittler said.
“So it was a bit of a nightmare to try and decide, but there were some common themes and ‘soldiers’ and ‘diggers’ seemed to resonate.”