Carlo Capogreco, after a most interesting 12-months, has every right to be a tad negative but instead he brims with confidence and hope.
His popular venue, Carlo's Italian Ristorante, had to endure the lockdown bought on by COVID-19, the various restrictions that came from the pandemic and then there was a certain visit from a Sydney taxi driver.
The taxi driver was a COVID case and Carlo's restaurant was closed when the man visited the Ulladulla-based venue.
It's refreshing to hear from Carlo about what he experienced in the past 12-months and how he is moving forward. He, and many others, had more than the COVID-19 hurdles to overcome.
"Originally we had the fires and then the floods and then came the COVID situation," he said.
"First off [with COVID] it was a bit of a struggle but once they allowed you to go to one person per 1.5 metres it was not too bad.
"Fortunately for me, I had a big restaurant and doing two sittings of 50 for me was fine."
The restrictions even gave Carlo the chance to look at and reflect on the way he ran the business.
"Even though it has gone back to normal I am happy to maintain and do business as is," Carlo said.
"Doing 50 at a time over two sittings gives us more time to be attentive to customers and give them A-grade service all the time.
"If you were serving 100 people at a time not everyone was getting tended to in the way I would like it to be."
Carlo, in a show of confidence, is seeking to employ more people.
He is looking for experienced wait staff and an experienced chef. People can call the Ristorante on (02) 4455 2443 or email your resume to; firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Employing more people was the last thing on his mind following the infamous taxi driver visit.
"I had to close for a week and my jaw just dropped when I found out," he said.
"Fortunately when he [the taxi driver] came in it was day eight of his case and even more fortunate he obviously was not infectious and there were no positive from the thousands of people that tested over that period when he was here."
Carlo even benefited from the taxi driver's visit.
"I think business boomed after that," he said.
He even got national and international free advertising from the case.
"I spoke to someone from advertising who came down here from Sydney and I jokingly said 'at least I got $100,000 of free national advertising. He said '$100,000 - probably more like $2 million'," he said.
"I was getting messages from all over Australia and New Zealand - it was the best free advertising I ever got.
"I might have to go and thank that fella."
The community members also supported one of their own.
"The locals were brilliant and they still are. I am fortunate I have a good product and I have local customers as well. It [the loyalty] had thankfully been a big blessing," he said.
"I would like to put out a huge thank you to all the local people who have supported my business and every other business in town - they [the locals] deserve a pat on the back."
Carlo even thinks COVID, when compared to cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, has boosted the South Coast.
"People, when the borders closed, could not head north or south that had never discovered the South Coast thought 'let's give it a go' and now it's stemmed into a big steady influx of customers," Carlo said.
He said local customers keep business going and the tourists were the 'icing on the cake'.
Meanwhile, he said Jobkeeper has made getting staff hard.
"I am out there trying to employ people but nobody wants to work," he said.
He has not had any applications for the current positions at all.
"I am amazed myself," he said in regards to the lack of applicants.
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