RUNNING a multi-million-dollar hotel is a far cry from the quiet life in Crossley that Graham Carter and partner Kathryn Waterson have been accustomed to.
However, they’ll soon be cranking up the pace of life as new owners of Port Fairy’s iconic Victoria Hotel.
Mr Carter, an experienced builder, and Ms Waterson, a hairdresser and mother of three, will move into their new home above the pub on February 18 — with barely a fortnight to learn the ropes before thousands of people descend on the town for the annual folk festival.
“We’re very excited, but nervous,” they told The Standard this week after the sale by Warrnambool entrepreneur Graeme Rodger was confirmed.
“We had been visiting Port Fairy for a while and fell in love with the hotel.
“Then when we heard it was for sale we thought we’d have a go.
“It’s got great facilities with a restaurant, conference centre in the old drill hall and a TAB outlet.
“We’ll be relying on the great staff they have there.”
The couple said they were keen to integrate into the local community and sponsor clubs and events while their children — two boys and a girl — will join local football and netball teams.
Mr Rodger, who announced the sale on behalf of family subsidiary Moyne River Investments, said he was pleased with the deal and confident the business would be expanded.
“We are happy it has gone to family-orientated buyers to the benefit of local people who will patronise it,” he said. “It was only on the market for about a week before they said they wanted to buy it.
“We took it from receivership about four years ago and built it up by putting conference facilities in the adjoining drill hall, renovating the restaurant and back bar and adding a children’s room and totalisator.
“The conference centre can hold 250 people — that’s the jewel in the crown.”
The sale price was not disclosed, but The Standard understands it was in excess of $2 million.