NEW BUSINESS: Cafe's new owners mirror town's fortunes
IN MANY ways, Michelle and Allan Koorn's story is Gladstone's story.
The couple moved to the region nine years ago with their two children, running the Koorawatha Homestead Motel at Bororen for seven years before the downturn got the better of the business.
The experience left them with a love for the region - but also creditors to pay off.
Rather than move away, they decided to stick things out and started a property management business, working to pay off their debt until they decided the time was right to bet on Gladstone's hospitality industry one more time.
The family received the keys to the Hilltop Central Cafe on Goondoon St last week, and are now ready to open as soon as they receive their final approval from the council.
"This is the next step up to get back on our feet again," Allan said.
"You either cry and leave or you suck it up and try something different."
The cafe's new menu will focus on takeaway food, but there's also room to sit down and have a coffee - and the couple stress they'll always be open to suggestions.
"There's a fair bit of competition (for coffee) in the CBD, so we're trying to make our cafe a little different," Michelle said.
"For every meat-based dish there'll be a vegetarian one or even a vegan one to match... we're also looking at using local ingredients as much as we can down the track."
"We're always looking to improve - if it's do-able we'll do it!" Allan said.
The Koorns are hoping to open as soon as their licence is approved, a process they hope will come to a close sooner rather than later.
"The (Commonwealth Games) baton relay's on Saturday and that will pass right by us... so that would be a great opening day," Allan said.