Own­ers say ’why didn’t they tell us’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - KIRSTIN PAYNE

FU­RI­OUS busi­ness own­ers are de­mand­ing to know why they weren’t told that trade would drop off dur­ing the Com­mon­wealth Games.

Restau­ra­teur Carlo Per­cuoco said he was shocked by the re­port.

“I wish I would have seen that six months ago, we could have re­viewed plan­ning,” said Mr Per­cuoco, co-owner of Ma­rina Mi­rage eatery Fellini.

“In­stead we had a coun­cil Get Set for the Games rep­re­sen­ta­tive telling us to ex­pect 600,000 peo­ple.

“In the only of­fi­cial con­tact we had, we were told all these silly things, to stock up, de­liv­er­ies are go­ing to be late, all this neg­a­tive stuff.”

Mr Per­cuoco, who or­dered ex­tra stock and ros­tered ad­di­tional staff, said he was most irked by the con­fu­sion and lack of trans­parency, and not the quiet trad­ing pe­riod.

“It’s about be­ing kept in the dark ... what is bulls**t is the num­bers they fed us.

“My gripe is where is the re­search you guys have done. You had a univer­sity study and didn’t use it. Why?”

Feed the Earth­lings owner Teaki Page said he had found the Grif­fith Busi­ness School re­port at the be­gin­ning of the year and dis­cov­ered a clear dis­par­ity be­tween the in­for­ma­tion be­ing pro­vided by Get Set for the Games.

“But I never read any of that (Grif­fith re­port in­for­ma­tion) in the Get Set for the Games info. Had I not delved deeper I would have been com­pletely blind­sided. A CLOUD hangs over the event. The out­come for many small busi­nesses is not the suc­cess they be­lieved was com­ing. Un­for­tu­nately the fright­en­ing rhetoric of Get Set for the Games that warned of mas­sive crowds and trans­port chaos drowned out the voices of rea­son.

A Grif­fith Univer­sity Busi­ness School re­port re­leased to the coun­cil and other stake­hold­ers in July last year warned that in­stead of a busi­ness bo­nanza, the re­al­ity was likely to be some­thing else. Busi­nesses say they were not in­formed. Get Set for the Games viewed its KPI of a smoothly run event as far more im­por­tant than any eco­nomic div­i­dend for lo­cal busi­nesses. Such a shame.

“At no point was it sug­gested to any­one any­where that busi­ness would be down at all.

“If coun­cil had that in­for­ma­tion and they didn’t share it with us, there is no way they had our best in­ter­ests at heart.”

Sales at Ms Page’s ve­gan eatery were down 17.5 per cent com­pared to last year, with in­creased costs due to ex­tra staff on the grave­yard shift to ac­cept de­liv­er­ies.

“We are on skele­ton staff for the next few weeks to try to re­cover,” Ms Page said.

The find­ings were less of a shock for He­lensvale Night Quar­ter di­rec­tor Michelle Chris­toe, who re­ceived a copy of the re­port from the busi­ness school at the time of the launch.

“Lo­cals were en­gaged by Get Set for Games but it was the wrong mes­sages con­tin­u­ously re­in­forced,” she said.

How­ever, Ms Chris­toe, said not all of the rec­om­men­da­tions in the Grif­fith re­port as­sisted with the lack of foot traf­fic dur­ing the day.

Trade was sig­nif­i­cantly down for Easter and school hol­i­days and was not re­placed by suf­fi­cient Games vis­i­tors to make up the num­bers, as the re­port sug­gested.

“Sur­veys with pa­trons have in­di­cated that the mes­sages for stay­ing away were louder than the ones en­cour­ag­ing lo­cals to join the party,” Ms Chris­toe said.

The space, which was in­tended to be open over the whole Games pe­riod, was closed for two days. How­ever, it at­tracted huge num­bers on Satur­day night.

Cristhian Olaya, gen­eral man­ager of Broad­beach’s Bavar­ian Bier Café, said he had “a heap of stock which I ba­si­cally have to throw in the bin be­cause I was ex­pect­ing it to be a lot busier than this”.

“I was ex­pect­ing ev­ery sin­gle day packed and I had be­tween break­fast and lunch prob­a­bly four or five cus­tomers.”

He noted that though things had picked up dur­ing the sec­ond week of the Games, his busi­ness was still feel­ing the im­pact of the loss.

When shown the re­port, Joe Daw­son of TB’s Liquor in South­port said he was dis­ap­pointed or­gan­is­ers hadn’t been up­front with busi­nesses.

“The peo­ple that own these com­pa­nies all live here and now they’re do­ing it tough as well,” Mr Daw­son said.

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