About 1 a.m., we decided would we would buy it…
"These quotes could not be more Australian and I am 1,000% here for it." Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Our main story today is about a pair of 20-something Australian guys who bought a bar/hotel/restaurant in the middle of nowhere. It all popped up on my radar screen due to an Australian journalist in Canada, who tweeted:
I read the story, laughed, and thought: I’ll bet this would make a good interview. Plus, it’s in keeping with the “lost in translation” theme over the last few days.
Could I track them down? Fair dinkum! (Sorry; my knowledge of Australian slang is limited to what I got watching Bluey with my daughter, watching Mr. Inbetween without her, and deciphering the lyrics to Men at Work songs in middle school.)
Anyway, after a few time zone and technical issues, we did in fact connect over video last week. Here's part of our interview (full video embedded below). I hope you enjoy it; I enjoyed doing it!
Free beer (restrictions apply)
Grant Champion and Tom Auriac
as told to Bill Murphy Jr. (edited for space & clarity)
Grant: I'm a bit of a bush kid. I'm from out here in the Outback. Tom lives in a coastal town. We went to school together—grade 7, which is 12 years old. Boarding school. That's where I met Tom.
Tom: Yeah. I was living on the coast. Most of Australia lives on the coast. Only a small percentage of us live out west. So currently we are, what, 10 hours from the beach? If you basically went to the east coast of Australia and Queensland and travelled 10 hours straight West, you'll hit us. So we're in the middle of nowhere, so to speak.
Grant: We work on a quarry about 5 km out of Stonehenge. It's a rock quarry. I've been working here for about five years and Tom was down at Gold Coast working in an office. I just told him to come out here and, you know, I'll make a man out of him.
Tom: Do a proper week's work and never really looked back.
Grant: Come in for a month or so, and then he left again, but then he came back again. And then a year or two later, we decided just to buy the pub.
Tom: Basically, Tony—Tony Jackson, the guy we bought the hotel off—is a local property owner. Grant's family has been friendly with Tony for years and years. He had a plan to sell the pub and we had a couple of beers and joked around about it. And by about 1 a.m., we decided we would buy it.
Grant: It was about $200,000.
Tom: Australian [dollars], which was about $130,000 of your American dollars.
Grant: Tony's been good with us. We just made a deal to pay him back over a couple of years, and gave him a pretty good deposit.
Tom: There's no bank that would lend two 24-year-olds a couple hundred grand to buy a pub. It's the only business in the town. So, we're the post office. We're the hotel. We're the grocery store. We're the pub, fuel station—day care when the parents drop their kids off.
Grant: We've got a cook that sits in there during the days and looks after the place for us. He's an old retiree. He's had a few pubs in his life. It just runs itself, fairly. We've got a couple of workers in there, just to give him a spell in the busy months.
Tom: A 'spell' is a break, for your American listeners.
Grant: You need pubs in the Outback, to keep the farmers and stuff going.
Tom: They don't make a hell of a lot of money, but without a pub in the town, the town will die. It's a central meeting point for everyone. It's where people come in and share a drink. In drought, everyone comes to the pub, and even in the good seasons they're still coming to the pub.
Grant: Not many local girls around town. You've got to drive a bit of distance to see those sorts of attractions.
Tom: The closest town to us, where you'd go to buy your groceries, is 150 Ks away. Also, if you want to try your luck in one of the bars maybe, if you've been out here too long in the dust and surrounded by a bunch of blokes. I don't think it's gonna be a very long term business venture.
Grant: We hadn’t ever worked in a bar or served a beer before we took over. we'll just see how the next couple of years go, and take each day as it comes.
It's more just the fact that not many people can say that they've bought and run a hotel at our age. We'll give it a go, and if the place burns down on us, and we go broke, so be it.
Grant: We'll just see how the next couple of years go, and take each day as it comes.
Tom: Tell all your listeners. If they ever pull in this way, tell them to pull in and we'll give them a free beer if they mention Understandably. If they mention your name, we'll give them a free beer.
(Anyone from Queensland, Australia? Please take them up on the offer. You can check out their Facebook page and get the address here. Video of my interview with Grant and Tom the other night is embedded below.)
7 other things worth knowing
The upside of stress (maybe): a new study suggests the immune system may benefit from a measure of stress. "This was a little bit of a surprise for us,” said Case Western Reserve University medical professor and study author, Fabio Cominelli. (Eureka Alert)
Can't afford a new car? Can't afford a used car. Used car prices are up 48 percent over the last three years (new car prices: up 30 percent). (CNN)
One hundred days after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to an abortion, public approval of the court has dropped to historic lows as it prepares to open its new term today. According to Gallup, just 47 percent of Americans have at least a “fair amount” of trust in the judicial branch, representing a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago. (The Hill)
Three years ago, Google launched a streaming platform for gaming, with what you'd imagine would be every single advantage. But, it's shutting the whole thing down after failing to gain traction, and giving refunds. (Google announcement)
This is a few days old now, but texts between Elon Musk have been revealed in his lawsuit with Twitter, and it basically explains how his plan to buy the company and take it private was hatched. (CNN)
Kind of an interesting story about military recruiting, at a time when numbers are way down. The top general in charge of recruiting for the Air Force says he spends time every day snap-reviewing photos of otherwise qualified recruits' hand tattoos on his phone, to decide if they are subtle enough to pass muster. (Task & Purpose)
"I had cancer at 6 years old and was in treatment for 2 years. Now, I work in the same oncology unit that saved my life." (Insider)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: The guys at the Stonehenge. See you in the comments.