The new owners of the former Greengrocer Cafe in Goulburn hope to bring a new lease of life on the once popular eatery.
The Kontos family, which owns the historic Paragon Cafe, settled on the purchase of Greengrocer in Clifford Street on August 4.
It came after the latter business suddenly closed and entered voluntary administration on May 12. Administrators, Chifley Advisory, invited expressions of interest in the business just days later. Paragon Cafe employee, George Kontos, said his family's consortium was selected from five "serious" parties.
"We're very excited," he said.
"...It's a well established business with a good reputation and is probably the longest running cafe after The Paragon. The location is ideal, with lots of parking."
The consortium includes himself, wife Victoria, his father and mother, Peter and Maria Kontos, and his sister, Natalie and her husband, Lazaros Foinikopoulos. Peter and Maria have owned The Paragon outright since 2007 but Peter's involvement has stretched back 40 years.
The Greengrocer's purchase further expands the family's interests; in more recent years they also bought the Park Cafe and The Pizza Kitchen in Auburn Street.
George Kontos said while much of the infrastructure was in place, his family would add their own touch. They intend to transform it into a cafe and bar and remove the rear cyclery area for dining.
"We're trying to keep the atmosphere but improve on how it was," Mr Kontos said.
"We'll put our own twist and experience on it and amalgamate all the ideas we've gained from the Park Cafe and Pizza Kitchen into what we know works best."
The interior will be repainted, signage and furniture changed and the premises generally freshened up. The family is striving for a "casual dining experience" where people can also drop in for a drink and finger food.
A name for the cafe hasn't yet been decided. The family expects to employ about 15 people.
The Paragon was established in Goulburn in the 1940s and has become iconic for locals and visitors alike.
George Kontos has worked in the business most of his life in some capacity but took on a fulltime role following his Wollongong University Commerce degree in 2006. At that time, the Kontos family was in partnership with the Fatorous family but the latter sold a year later.
The Paragon has always been owned by members of the Greek community.
The 20-year-old Greengrocer Cafe closed three months after the death of former owner, Con Toparis, in a cycling crash in Goulburn. His partner, Lana Easterby, appointed administrators in May and it was subsequently decided to sell the business.
An Australian Securities and Investment Commission report obtained by The Post in May revealed $441,917 owing to unsecured creditors, including $101,199 to the Australian Taxation Office.
It's understood 10 parties originally lodged expressions of interest in Greengrocer's purchase but this was narrowed down to five. The sale price for the business sale is undisclosed.
Mr Kontos said his family was enthusiastic about the possibilities.
"It's exciting but there's also cautiousness. We've done this a few times and we've learnt to be down to earth about it," he said.
They hope to re-open the eatery in mid October.
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