New brand to bounce back

Gelaspresso employee Samantha Sipple.

Eilish Massie

Beloved restaurant The Dock unveiled a new brand identity last week, a move business owner Jeremy Hastings says was driven by the onset of Covid-19.

The Dock reverted back to its original branding as Gelaspresso, a gelato, doughnut and espresso bar, after Covid-19 made it difficult for the business to keep its kitchen and bar open.

Owner Jeremy Hastings said constant lockdowns and border closures have impacted the business significantly.

“We had two chefs leave post-covid for different career paths,” Mr Hastings said.

“For The Dock, we take great pride in making things from scratch but you need chefs to do that.

“We lined up chefs from Sydney but lockdown and border closure have impacted that process significantly.”

Mr Hastings has owned the business since 2014 and said the it sustained trade early last year, but the current landscape had shifted his perspective.

“30 per cent of our trade relies on cruise ships, grey nomads travelling, to people visiting relatives in Gladstone or going to Heron Island,” he said.

“We had this big disruption to our trade and we sort of sustained it when Covid started, but looking at the landscape we are in now with Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide all in lockdown, I don’t think that is going to change that challenge.

“We said as a business, what’s the prudent thing to do at this point and we decided we would move back to being Gellaspresso.”

The kitchen will be put in hibernation and a lot of equipment will be demobilised in the coming months.

“If the market changes and Covid doesn’t become much of a disruption, we certainly would re-look at that opportunity again,” he said.

“I’d never say never but I’m working on the assumption Covid will continue to be a big disruption to hospitality for the next 18 months.

“We’re just focusing on Gellaspresso until that time changes and see where we go from there.”

Mr Hastings said the business will be revamped in the coming weeks, with new branding and signs.

“It’s kind of like full circle,” he said.

“We’re going back to what we know best and just focusing on the Gellaspresso being a dessert bar.

“I’ll be putting the (Dock) sign in storage, and look forward to the day we can hopefully hang it up again.”

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