Sarah and Matt joined us for a chat about their recent purchase of The Star Bar in Launceston, and why they choose to work in the hospitality industry.
We were both born and bred in Launceston, but ended up moving to Europe when we were quite young. It gave us a lot of inspiration in terms of hospitality venues, and how culture can be built around venues.
Sarah ran The Northern Club in Launceston for 5 years, before a short stint at Sporties, then she moved to join Matt in Europe. Worked in a little bar there - great atmosphere, great people, really inspiring.
Matt has great financial skills. I tell him how I want things to run and he makes it happen. It’s a really good team setup for us. Having kids was the biggest motivation for us to come back from Europe.
Buying the Star Bar was a no-brainer for us, we were definitely going to come back here at some point, and I was certain that I wanted to run my own hospitality business. Then this place came on the market. It’s a staple of Launceston, and we were really lucky that the timing all lined up.
It was daunting when we first had the keys. The first thing that posed a real challenge was juggling kids and running a successful business. There’s always one of us here, that’s our main aim. It’s difficult, we have a lot of staff to look after, and need to make sure we can pay them. All of the staff here are great, and our success is because of them.
It’s been so flat out since we took over. We had one day off in the first six weeks. We’ve learned that you can rely on other people to help you. We want to be successful, and we want to see everyone in Launceston be successful.
In the next 12 months, we want to completely renovate the place. We’ll definitely keep the name, but we want to refresh it, rebrand it, bring a new menu and everything. It’ll change at face value, but the heart of the venue will still be here.
One of the biggest challenges is finding great staff. People come and go in hospitality so quickly. Sometimes you don’t realise what you’ve got til it’s gone. The hardest thing will be seeing how things go in Winter when things really slow down in Launceston.
We work in hospitality because we enjoy it, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We want to show the kids what a strong work ethic is. You don’t get anywhere sitting around at home doing nothing. It’s important for us to show them, and not just tell them. Running a hospitality business is great for us because it’s a challenge, and it’s exciting, and every day is different.