Despite the challenges of COVID, several new businesses opened their doors in the Whitsundays this year. Pictures: Elyse Wurm, Laura Thomas
Despite the challenges of COVID, several new businesses opened their doors in the Whitsundays this year. Pictures: Elyse Wurm, Laura Thomas

The businesses welcomed to the Whitsundays in 2020

It was a tough year for businesses across the region as owners grappled with restrictions and lockdowns.

However, many took the opportunity to make the most of the unprecedented times to open their doors.

Whitsunday Menu

The age-old debate over what to have for dinner was put to bed with the launch of Whitsunday Menu.

Whitsunday Menu launched in September and gives residents an insight into what's cooking in kitchens across Airlie Beach.

The website has a directory of up-to-date menus for participating restaurants, daily specials and sneak peeks of signature dishes.

It also provides the latest deals from partnering eateries and information on delivery broken down by suburb.

 

Health Cravers

Meg Hogan and Eugene Arboit opened the health haven in the old shop of Tony's Bakehouse.

Ms Hogan was excited to take on the legacy of Tony's Bakehouse and incorporate some exciting new options for Bowen residents.

While incorporating some of the town's old favourites, Ms Hogan said she saw an opportunity for Bowen to introduce healthy options and options for those with dietary requirements.

Book Nook

Book Nook opened in Bowen in May, selling second-hand books from a delightfully petite shopfront.

COVID-19 restrictions put a slight hold on the initial opening of the shop, however owner Barbara Mendelsohn said the business wasn't a "make it or break it" venture, as proceeds would go to charity.

Ms Mendelsohn pledged to put a portion of the proceeds towards a charity, and hoped to support the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service after the bushfires.

Whitsunday Fun

Whitsunday Fun opened in Airlie Beach in early December and provides residents and visitors to rent out a fleet of electric bikes and stand-up trikes perfect for cruising through the region.

With a range of up to 50km and top speeds of 25km/h, Whitsunday Fun owners Balin Beinssen and Jordan Pryce hoped it would encourage people to explore the hidden gems of Airlie Beach.

Whitsunday Fun opened in Airlie Beach and rents out electric trikes and bikes for a unique land-based experience. Picture: Supplied
Whitsunday Fun opened in Airlie Beach and rents out electric trikes and bikes for a unique land-based experience. Picture: Supplied

Shake 'n Skate

Shake 'n Skate at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre in November with a combination of milkshakes, coffee and skating gear on offer.

The cafe sits right next to Coles and owners Raquel Hartley and Dave Vallance hoped it would bring a unique twist to coffee culture.

True to its namesake, the menu is stacked with a range of different milkshake flavours with syrup handmade from a secret recipe.

The cafe is also a one-stop shop for skateboarders with a number of decks and accessories for sale.

Airline Physio

Airline Physio opened in November with owner Seb van den Brink hoping it would bring a more holistic approach to health, shifting the focus from healing to helping strengthen.

The core of the businesses is physiotherapy, however Mr van den Brink hoped he could collaborate with other health practitioners in a bid to create a holistic service.

This could include group fitness classes, yoga, personal training and even a studio gym.

Raquel Hartley and Dave Vallance opened Shake 'n Skate in Cannonvale. Picture: Laura Thomas
Raquel Hartley and Dave Vallance opened Shake 'n Skate in Cannonvale. Picture: Laura Thomas

Le Shack

The quaint cafe on Main St opened in October, promising good coffee and banter as well as advice on what to do while holidaying in the region.

Owners Jordan de Mamiel and James Kontis recruited friends to help give the cafe a facelift and Mr Mamiel said it was all made possible thanks to some help from their next door neighbours.

"VB pots from Beaches and Bunnings snags probably built this place," he said.

With a wide range of teas and specialty coffee on offer, Mr Kontis hoped the laid-back venue could act as a meeting place for visitors and residents alike.

Wildspirit Floating Bar

Wildspirit Floating Bar opened in October and is a fully decked out portable bar, complete with a range of cocktails, that can travel across the region.

The bar is made from a vintage horse float that was purchased locally earlier this year.

The bar can be hired for a range of events from weddings to elopements and baby showers.

Owners of Le Shack James Kontis and Jordan de Mamiel hoped the new cafe would be a fun and social hangout for residents and visitors alike. Picture: Laura Thomas
Owners of Le Shack James Kontis and Jordan de Mamiel hoped the new cafe would be a fun and social hangout for residents and visitors alike. Picture: Laura Thomas

Dickie's Dogs

A taste of the 1950s hit Airlie Beach in May with the opening of a new hotdog diner, Dickie's Dogs.

The diner, located on Main St, is a blast from the past from the menu all the way to the floor-to-ceiling mural straight out of the Elvis era.

Dickie's Dogs is also a family affair, owned by Cathy and Steve Lucas as well as their daughter Mel and her partner Eden.

Mr Lucas said he was inspired by the travellers of Airlie Beach to create a menu complete with 15 types of hotdogs and five types of doughnuts that catered to every taste.

Base 51

The gym opened just after new year with the promise of helping people get fit in a functional way.

The gym runs high intensity classes throughout the week where residents go from scaling rock climbing walls to push ups and burpees.

Base 51 owner Simon Lee said the workouts were different to any others offered in the region.

"You get that extra push in the workouts more than old school classes where you're just following the instructor," he said.

Cathy and Steve Lucas opened a new hotdog restaurant, Dickie's Dogs, in Airlie Beach this year. Picture: Laura Thomas
Cathy and Steve Lucas opened a new hotdog restaurant, Dickie's Dogs, in Airlie Beach this year. Picture: Laura Thomas

Massage and Myotherapy Whitsundays

Beau McCleish turned myotherapy into his career after seeing the difference it could make when he was working as a professional dancer.

He set up a clinic called Massage and Myotherapy Whitsundays in Cannonvale in December to help improve the quality of life for residents living with chronic pain.

Myotherapy is a form of physical therapy that focuses on the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pain.

Gel Blasters Direct

What started out as a fun hobby turned into a new business venture for Michael Godden and Lahni Henderson who opened Gel Blasters Direct in December.

Mr Godden said the new venture started as a passion, when he bought a gel blaster for himself and then one for his son.

They both loved it, so two years ago they started setting up a stall at the Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets on Saturdays to share with others the hobby they enjoyed.

Beau McCleish set up new clinic Massage and Myotherapy Whitsundays in Cannonvale. Photo: Elyse Wurm
Beau McCleish set up new clinic Massage and Myotherapy Whitsundays in Cannonvale. Photo: Elyse Wurm

Batcave Bouldering

Batcave Bouldering, located in Cannonvale, opened in June giving both rock-climbing rookies and seasoned climbers a place to play.

The indoor bouldering gym was the first of its kind in the area.

The gym features floor to ceiling bouldering courses of varying difficulty along with roof sections that will see more daring climbers defying gravity.

Kevla Espresso and Health Food Bar

Chiropractor Brett Smith had high hopes he could help patients visiting Dynamic Chiropractic also learn how to fuel their bodies with the right foods, so he teamed up with Zachary Krause to build a cafe at the rear of the business.

Through the new cafe he sought to help people become more educated about foods that work best for their bodies, as everyone responds to diets in different ways.

(From left) This Pair Footwear owner Des Rowe, staff member Diane Dalton and owner Julie Rowe at the new Bowen shop. Photo: Elyse Wurm
(From left) This Pair Footwear owner Des Rowe, staff member Diane Dalton and owner Julie Rowe at the new Bowen shop. Photo: Elyse Wurm

This Pair Footwear

Des and Julie Rowe have more than 80 years of experience in the shoe industry between them and hoped their new Bowen venture could bring some new kicks to town.

The pair decked out their shop with their own brands of shoes but they planned to integrate more variety over time.

"We like casual and comfortable, comfort is number one," Mrs Rowe said.

"We have to get feedback from customers, it's what they want."

Tai Thai Fusion

Pearls Tsang and Rui Yeh have opened Tai Thai Fusion at Whitsunday Shopping Centre in October, two years after selling lagoon-side restaurant Cool Lala.

Part-owner Miss Tsang said Mr Yeh created his own fusion menu to combine two cuisines together, as Thai food was generally quite spicy and salty, whereas Taiwanese food was less so.

The restaurant serves up a variety of dishes including red curry beef cheek and spicy green curry, as well as vegetarian options.

The Cafe at Horseshoe Bay

Kiosk Cafe owners Jill and David Paddon opted for a change of scenery this year and opened The Cafe at Horseshoe Bay.

They described the new venture as somewhere between a cafe and restaurant and serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tapas as well as barista-made coffee and gelati.

Mr Paddon said they wanted to bring something new to Bowen and give a boost to an already iconic and popular area of the town.


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