Giddy Goat fights for survival in court battle
ONE OF Rockhampton's most popular venues is facing major legal troubles, but the owner is pleading for public support.
SHG Pty Ltd, the company that owns and trades as Giddy Goat Cafe and Bar, was handed a "notification of court action relating to winding up" on March 26 through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The application was lodged on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation and a court date has been set for this Friday in Brisbane.
Peter Trenerry, 33, and Jon Sharvin, 31, bought shares in SHG Pty Ltd when they took over the business in late 2016.
Mr Trennery's background was in the construction and sales industry while Mr Sharvin had worked in the Giddy Goat kitchen.
The pair are the sole members of the company SHG Pty Ltd.
The Morning Bulletin met with Mr Trenerry, who explained the notice about outstanding taxes blindsided them and they have spent the last six weeks trying to figure out their course of action.
A total figure was not disclosed.
"It was shocking ... it's never nice to hear and it's never nice to have those conversations with staff," he said.
Despite the legal issues, both the cafe and bar remain open for business as usual.
Mr Trenerry said in the two-and-half years they have owned the business they have learnt how hard it is in the hospitality industry.
"It is really tough for small business especially in this region, it hasn't been the strongest economy the last couple of years," he said.
They said constant changes in rules and regulations, in particular around advertising, has made it really difficult.
Like many other small businesses, the pair face high power prices.
"The amount of licensing, not just liquor but music licensing, the amount of costs, especially this size of place, the amount of fees would blow some people away," Mr Trennery said.
Mr Trennery said on the surface, the Giddy Goat appeared to be one of the most popular places in town so it's hard to believe they are struggling behind the scenes.
"It's more inconsistency," he said. "One week is really good, next isn't."
"You see a lot of people here on a Saturday night but those costs and fees are still fixed to a certain amount."
Trade did quieten down around January and February however the last two months have been very good with lots of celebrations and sporting groups starting back up.
"We do have a lot of really loyal customers that do return and we are really grateful for those," Mr Trenerry said.
"Myself and Jon get to know the regulars and some of them do come in every day."
Competition is also a factor as there is only so much money to be spread around from customers.
"I take my hat off to anyone who wants to jump in the deep and give it a go because I understand how tough it is," Mr Trenerry said.
"It's not an easy thing to do ... especially in the food space. Rockhampton has a very good cafe scene, just the ones in the CBD space that have opened in the last couple of years,"
The business supports around 30 staff through the cafe kitchen.
"They (the staff) are brilliant, I can't thank them enough for everything," Mr Trenerry said.
Striving to move past the legal issues, the owners do have plans for the building.
They have started some renovations on the back area and are looking at making some tweaks upstairs.
The upstairs area was renovated before they took over and they fitted out the downstairs bar.
The pair hope to also bring some more unique live music to the region.
"We don't see this place slowing down once we finalise this legal issue," Mr Trenerry said.
"In the way the business is trading, that is something we want to continue and make it viable."
Mr Trenerry is pleading with the local community to get behind their businesses.
He said even if a venue appeared to be going really well, buy a coffee or a beer as every little bit helps.
"Support your locals. It is crucial and we're thankful and grateful for anyone that does walk through our doors," he said.
"It only helps our economy if everyone does that."
The Giddy Goat Cafe and Bar is trading as usual while the legal proceedings are ongoing.