Selling Houses Australia

'It's heartbreaking' John & Jacquie reveal what's happened to their beloved pub

It's fair to say that pub owners Jacquie and John from Kaniva are well-loved in their remote country town.  

The couple have been at their main street pub for 14 years and while they've thoroughly enjoyed life behind the bar, they were tired and keen to take a break.

After two failed attempts at selling, John and Jacquie turned to Selling Houses Australia hoping the team could work their magic. 

“We actually sold it once," says Jacquie. "But the new owner was paying us off slowly so we became landlords. But when that new owner didn’t make repayments, pretty much everything was destroyed.

“It was a horrible time and we had to dip into our savings to save the place. There was a cat urine smell throughout the house."

The parents of Kyle, 21 and Alex, 19, found themselves in a pit of despair, as the place they loved was trashed.

"It was gut wrenching, just heartbreaking. We built a life here and I was still in contact with community members and dear friends who were constantly letting me know how bad things had got. I was very stressed," says Jacquie

So when Charlie, Andrew and Shaynna arrived, Jacquie and John were delighted when the SHA team created a warmer space for the locals to sit and they completely transformed the external part of the pub.

Jacquie and John were thrilled with their renovated pub.

But at the end of episode we were left wondering if the couple would achieve their dream and finally leave pub-life behind. And the answer?

"We're still at the pub," confirms Jacquie. "Because of COVID-19 and the state government restrictions we’ve had to close. We’re only allowed to be open at dinner time for a few hours and have to serve people via take away."

The couple had almost found a buyer, but amid the pandemic - the sale didn't end up going through.

"We were millimetres off selling, but then the restrictions started. It was just that faint light at the end of the tunnel – I had a good feeling to hand over the place to him, but unfortunately, we’ve had to sit still.

Jacquie says one of the hardest part of the lockdown is seeing her patrons and not being able to sit down for a chat and a beer.

"They come in and get their meals through the bottle shop door and say ‘God, we miss coming in here and chatting. I miss the boys. It's really hard'"

And financially, Coronavirus is also taking a toll on the family.

“We’re still keen to sell, but we don’t know about the market. There will be a lot of pubs which won't get through this stage, but we still have a bit of trade coming through.

"The thing is, there’s going to be a lot of pubs for sale, which are closer to Melbourne within the same price bracket.

"I'm afraid people would be more likely to buy those properties, not ours. That’s my biggest fear. I think there will be an influx of pubs for sale and we will be on the backburner once again."

But the turn in world events doesn't mean that the couple aren't in love with their Selling Houses Australia renovation. 

"I just love the beer garden," says Jacquie. "It just completely changed."

"And to see that transform into what it is now? I just love it. I sit out there and have my morning coffee, or a Sunday afternoon beer." 

Perhaps the most emotional part of the episode though was the amazing mural of a local Anzac hero painted on the beer garden wall.

Much to Jacquie’s surprise, the portrait was actually of her father’s cousin, Porky Hawker.

The mural is now the centre piece at the pub, one Jacquie says she's proud to show tourists who are passing by.

"It was a part of my family!" says Jacquie. "Charlie didn’t know that when he picked that person!

"It was my grandmother’s nephew and he died in Vietnam in 1967. I grew up knowing Porky Hawker was a part of my family," she explains.

"It really hit home, because when I was telling Shaynna that story she started crying, then I started crying."

And although we didn't see it in the episode John was very emotional about the mural too.

"John cried, too," explains Jacquie. "His dad also served in Vietnam - he came back but later died from complications with cancer. I’m welling up just thinking about it."

Jacquie and John have been hit hard since the Coronavirus lockdown.

And while this week's episode was one big emotional rollercoaster, both Jacquie and John are delighted with the renovation to the pub. Let's hope it won't be too long before they find a new owner for the Club Hotel. 

Also on Selling Houses Australia:

> 'Thank you for saving us' - the Crows Nest homeowners reveal all about their renovation

>'Everything has changed for us - the Drysdale homeowners reveal what's happened since their renovation

> 'We don't want to sell now' Why the Turners Marsh homeowners have changed their mind

Watch season 13 of Selling Houses Australia exclusively on LifeStyle each Wednesday at 8.30pm AEDT and streaming new episodes every week.

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