How the Firths plan to grow Grafton’s next attraction
When Rick Firth sold his business and retired at 55, he expected to spend most of the time enjoying his weekender property out at Copmanhurst with family and friends. Little did he know a trip into Grafton would completely change those plans.
"I was going to put a couple of shipping containers out there and the guy that owned the company in town was selling the property," Mr Firth said.
"I had no intention of buying anything and even told him I know a few people in Sydney who might be interested. But then, while sitting in my man cave and, after a couple of beers, I decided to have a read of the paperwork and thought, wow, I'm interested."
In August 2019, Mr Firth purchased 160 North St, the former Grafton Brewery site and established a family-owned company BrewHouse Group.
Since then, Mr Firth has been steadily transforming the property into a multifunctional hub.
"We want to build it up, with our goal to make the property a valuable asset for Grafton, that's what it's all about," he said.
"We have some blue chip companies here like CSR, Australia Post and Nutrient Ag Solutions, but we're also looking to bring other businesses like a bakery, deli, a wellness centre, things like that, to really expand on what this village can offer."
Mr Firth said he was eagerly anticipating the opening of their heritage-style brewery complete with a large function centre for up to 400 people.
"I think it will be a fantastic tourist attraction for Grafton," he said.
"As for locals. there are nine thousand people living within a kilometre and a half from here so I think it's going to become the perfect spot for people to visit."