SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE DISCUSS USE WITH YOUR EDITOR – STILL STANDING: Quinalow Pub owner Greg Daley hasn't let any challenges halt business.
SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE DISCUSS USE WITH YOUR EDITOR – STILL STANDING: Quinalow Pub owner Greg Daley hasn't let any challenges halt business.

How this Western Downs pub turned pandemic into profit

A SHOCK cancer diagnosis and a heart-wrenching struggle through a global pandemic is not something Quinalow Pub owner Greg Daley anticipated for this year.

But through his battle with cancer and a complete restructure of his beloved pub, the support of the community has remained a constant presence, and has helped keep him and his business afloat.

The pandemic hit Mr Daley in ways he never would have expected, but the always positive pub owner said 2020 hasn’t been all bad.

Despite the challenges of the past few months, Mr Daley said they had experienced some of their most successful weeks in almost a decade.

Following the announcement that pubs would be closed to the public on March 23, and Mr Daley said he was “shattered” at the news.

But Quinalow staff jumped into action, used what they had to start preparing for the next few months, and what followed was a compete transformation of the Quinalow Pub.

“We gave away beer over the bar for two hours because it was draught so we couldn’t keep it,” Mr Daley said.

“We didn’t have a lot of people take it up because out here they don’t take advantage of you they try and help you.

“During the day we sold a few takeaways, and that night we didn’t know what we were going to do.”

Mr Daley and his staff transformed the pub into a bottle shop, putting all stock on the floor of the bar, and replacing bar stools with fridges.

Opening hours were four o’clock to eight o’clock every day, and for six to eight weeks, walk ins to the makeshift bottle-o and takeaway meals became the new normal.

Mr Daley said three of the last five weeks were the most profitable since he bought the pub eight years ago.

“Everyone here supported us,” he said.

“Everyone came out of the woodwork and it was just really good. We started to open a bit and people just got with us.

“The community has got us through.

“Around here, if there’s a good cause they’ll get around it 100 per cent.

“I suppose it was our turn.”

In among the pandemic was a shock cancer diagnosis which resulted in life saving surgery to remove Mr Daley’s prostate in May of this year.

He said he was out of action for six weeks, but the support from the community is what kept him going, and kept his business alive.

Mr Daley has been able to afford new floor coverings and a new bottle shop inside the pub since the pandemic thanks to the overwhelming support.

But he knows better than anyone that nobody is out of the woods just yet.

He believes the way the Government handles a potential second wave will indicate how the smaller, regional communities will survive.

“I don’t think it’s a one-size fits all policy they should have,” he said.

“They should target the hot spots.

“There were no cases out here where we are … I don’t think it warrants shutting us down like they did last time.

“It’s not over yet, we’re all worried about it, we’re all thinking about it all the time.

“I thought it was over, everyone thought it was over.”

While many plans for this year were overthrown by COVID-19, like Mr Daley’s wife’s retirement just shy of her 70th birthday, its been a year of growth for the Daleys and their pub family.

All it takes is a lot of positive thinking.

“You ask anybody who knows me the one word they can put beside my name is ‘sensational’ because that’s what I say to everybody,” he said.

“When people ask how I’m going I say I’m sensational.

“It gives people a bit of a lift.”