Speaking to Rob and Lesley White about Tathra Beach House and their future plans for this obvious labour of love is bitter sweet. The award-winning accommodation destination is clearly so much more than a property; it has been their passion, business, family home and community for more than 30 years and now it’s on the market.
Steeped in memories, the picturesque town has embraced the couple from the day they came to Tathra and rented a small shop, opened a café that evolved into a successful restaurant, to the expansion and opening of a gallery and gift shop, and then on to the development of the first stage of the Tathra Beach House Apartments in the late eighties.
“Raising two boys, having an increasing commitment to the Bega Valley community and building the original six townhouses that front Tathra Beach in the early 90’s came with many sleepless nights,” says Rob.
“When we first opened, our reservation system was a red diary on the counter and a pencil and rubber. Our advertising comprised of putting an advert in the NRMA Accommodation Guide each year and occasionally an advertisement in regional papers. We would also post brochures out to anyone who rang. Now we have mobile phones, computers, websites, online reservation systems, Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb, and a plethora of social media.”
The industry changes they have witnessed and at times encouraged, over the last 30 years, are a primary reason for the couples’ longevity in the industry.
“We have loved being part of this dynamic and rapidly evolving industry,” says Rob, “and look forward to still being a part of it, albeit from the sidelines.”
Rob and Lesley went on to develop and open the very successful second stage of Tathra Beach House with Kaye and Ian Murray in 2002 and won the first of five industry awards. The third and final stage of the development was completed and opened just a couple of years ago adding two accessible units. Rob said that it has been hugely satisfying to be able to accommodate guests with mobility disabilities so they can also holiday in beautiful Tathra.
Superbly located directly opposite Tathra’s famous surf beach, the architecturally designed one, two and three bedroom apartments and three and four-bedroom villa houses are set among beautifully landscaped grounds featuring native plants, dry stack stone walls, handmade pavers, waterfalls and water features, swimming pools and spa pools.
The manicured tropical gardens of Tathra Beach House are also home to many bird species including Lyre birds, Bower birds, Bell birds and a multitude of colourful parrots that guests enjoy feeding from their apartment decks. The ponds feature beautiful Koi and children are encouraged to ask for special fish food to feed them. From time to time guests will also come across echidnas, goannas, wallabies and kangaroos within the gardens and close by.
“It’s important to us to look after our beautiful environment,” adds Rob. “We generate our own power to heat and run the swimming pools, spa pools and water features and we have rainwater tanks to capture and reuse roof water for the gardens.”
Now however, the two stalwarts of the Sapphire Coast tourism industry are contemplating more holiday time for themselves as they look to sell their business and open a new chapter in their lives.
Rob says the decision to put the business on the market now makes sense: “We are still fit and healthy, but the business can sometimes be demanding. We would prefer to work with our broker now to find, and assist the right people to take over the business.
“Management rights is rewarding, complex, delightful and sometimes challenging and we want to ensure the new managers are capable and knowledgeable about the sector, but more importantly that they are passionate and enthusiastic about being involved in the ‘people’ industry.
“We thoroughly enjoy the area, the community and the proximity to the diverse attractions that this region offers, especially the amazing mountain bike tracks and the unique coastal environment. Being able to raise our two boys in such a wonderful area has been a highlight, and I would want all that for the new owners.”
Thinking of who the new owners might be, Rob and Lesley see great potential for further growth and success in the business. They also have a rare nugget that most management rights could never offer… being a self-developed property, Tathra Beach House Apartments features a spacious, free-standing four-bedroom, beachfront home as the manager’s residence. It also has a stand-alone, street-front reception that separates the business from the family home.
So, what is next for the inimitable couple?
“When you spend close to 30 years building a business (and life) with the help of many people and some wonderful staff it becomes a big part of your life and I think we will miss it,” says Rob.
Lesley says they will “definitely be staying in Tathra, but plan on spending time traveling and visiting their boys who now live in Griffith and Bicheno in Tasmania, as well as a fair bit of time in the Snowy Mountains”.
For more information contact Neil Bourke, LREA, Broker, NSW
M: 0447 448 824, P: 02 6495 2030, E: firstname.lastname@example.org