Owners say ’why didn’t they tell us’
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.