Col calls it a day at the club
WHEN Col Green first arrived as secretary manager of South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club six years ago, he didn't know what he was getting himself into.
The club was in bad financial state, the building needed work, and the outlook was bleak.
"When I came over here, you never heard a thing about the club," Col said.
"I had come from Grafton Services, which was pretty profitable and a good working club. I used to run the promotions and if we wanted to give away a car, we would just buy one, but here at first we wouldn't of even been able to buy the tires of a car."
What a difference six years makes.
Now, with the club in the strongest position it's been in for more than two decades, Col has decided to call it a day and retire this weekend.
"I'm getting close to that magic age," he said.
"I'm going to finish up a bit earlier while I'm still well and good. I own a little property out at Junction Hill and I'm going to spend a bit of time there, and my intention is to move in to Yamba, so by the time I do that I'll be really close to that good age.
"I just want to do a bit of fishing, a bit of crabbing, play some bowls and golf while I still can."
Mr Green said it was a proud achievement after years of hard work to be able to help make the club profitable again.
"It took about two years to turn the business around, and then after that we just gradually grew and grew," he said.
"Last year we made a $160,000 profit, and that's the best profit the club has made in 20 years, so it was good. That gets back to advertising, and we never used to advertise. You used to have to fall on this place to know it was here.
"We made a lot of changes and we keep changing, coming up with different ideas. Not all of them have been successful, but the ones that were we held on to them and kept them going."
One of the successful changes that helped spearhead the resurrection of the club was a return to live music, starting with the controversial Bliss nightclub venture in 2011. Though Bliss only last nine months, live music has continued with bands and more recently, tribute acts, which have continued to keep drawing the crowds.
Mr Green said he will miss being at the club, but still plans on playing bowls for a while yet.
"Must be able to mix with the people. I get out and play bowls, and have a joke with the members when I'm walking past the bar," he said.
"If you're seen, be seen, jump in the bus and go and pick people up, and when they get here have a yack to them, and it makes all the difference.
"I'll miss the staff too, I feel I get along with everyone well and I always try to be fair with everyone. You got to treat people the way that you'd want to be treated, and you can't think otherwise. It's a level playing field."
Anyone who wants to wish Col the best on his retirement can catch him at the club's monthly raffles tonight.