The owners of popular watering hole 'The Stump' hope to pull off a Christmas miracle. Mark McIlroy and his sisters Danielle McIlroy and Jo McKenzie, who grew up at the Caledonian Inn, have taken over the business. It is owned by their parents Jim and Anne McIlroy, who had leased out the hotel for the past three decades Mr McIlroy told The Standard in September the doors would reopen before Christmas. However, the family has been working with Heritage Victoria to complete much-needed repairs at the hotel. "We've got the go-ahead for the repairs," Mr McIlroy said. However, he said it was a busy time for tradespeople and having the work completed before Christmas may be a challenge. "We're hopeful we will be open before Christmas but we have to be realistic with trades and what they can do," Mr McIlroy said. "We will give it our best shot to be open for Christmas Day but if we're not, it will be pretty close to it." Mr McIlroy said the siblings took over the business because they knew it was a much-loved gathering place in the town. "We want to do the right thing for the community, who want to see it reopen," he said. Mr McIlroy, who had difficulty recruiting staff for Rafferty's Tavern in Warrnambool over the past few years, said he believed people were returning to the industry. "The staff situation has improved across the board," he said. "A year ago when we advertised a job we were getting one application but now we're getting five to 10." In September Mr McIlroy told The Standard he and his siblings were excited to take over The Stump. "It's a passion project that means a lot to us," Mr McIlroy said. He said he had many happy memories at the hotel. "We were brought up there," Mr McIlroy said. "We did dishes and we learnt to pour our first beers." Mr McIlroy said there were also plans to revamp the accommodation. "We want to do something for the locals and bring it back to its former glory," he said. Mr McIlroy said he was excited by the renovations that were under way. "It's exciting - my parents love that place - the whole family does," he said.