Community / Business / 2nd July 2020
TAKE FIVE: with Trish Lithgow and Elaine Gardiner from Tibuc Gardens Cafe and Accommodation
Tell me about your business:
We have a cafe, art and craft shop and a two-bedroom cottage with a lovely outlook in the foothills of the Warrumbungle. In the cafe we serve breakfast, lunch morning and afternoon tea. Our ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible and food is freshly prepared in house.
The shop is fully stocked with art and craft works by a diverse group of talented local artists, with works including photography, art, word work, home spun and felted, wooden items, paper craft, jewellery, candles and more. The two-bedroom cottage is fully self contained and secluded, with it own garden and outdoor seating and barbecue.
We have been operating for nearly six years and are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and are available for private functions. It is a small business run by both of us and we employ additional staff as needed; many will have seen Sally, our invaluable casual staff member, from time to time.
How has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We closed our doors completely as without tourists and being out of town, takeaways were not a viable option for us. On a positive note, we have had time to develop a new menu including a take-away and frozen dinner menu.
You had planned to close the cafe for a few weeks earlier this year - was that good timing considering the CoViD-19 restrictions that came into force for the hospitality industry?
Yes, we were closed in February and the first part of March as planned. It was the right decision for us at the time and in retrospect a good decision, as it allowed each of us to catch up with family both inter-state and overseas before travel bans were in place.
At what capacity are you operating presently?
We are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 4.30pm. We ask people to book, especially if they have a group, so we can ensure we have capacity for them. Our cafe is spacious with plenty of outdoor seating and our tables are well separated inside, so fortunately we have not had to turn anyone away.
Has business started to pick up as people get “back to normal”?
Over the four weeks we have been open we have been busy, especially on the weekends, so yes - back to normal for us.
Have you noticed more out-of-town visitors to the cafe now that regional travel is allowed?
Yes, we are seeing many visitors from other areas of NSW who are saying this is their first visit to the region. many are pleasantly impressed by what we have to offer in the area and the beauty of our National Park.
The hospitality industry has been hard hit by COVID-19, do you feel your business will be able to weather the storm long-term?
Yes, we feel business is going well, the cottage is fully booked for the holidays and we have had many more enquires than we could accommodate.
how can local people help local businesses, now and into the future?
We have great support from our local community and have enjoyed seeing many familiar faces back in the cafe. Local people can continue to promote our area in a positive way, shop locally before heading out of town or online - there is so much on offer here.