Good progress has been made since my last Olympic diary when we were still struggling with roadworks in the town centre. Our suppliers have had a nightmare trying to cope with the heavy traffic created by all the roads being resurfaced in time for the Olympic sailing events.
That’s all done now, though, and thankfully we have a solid infrastructure in place.
I am slightly concerned that we may suffer from a decline in the number of families visiting the area as the police have taken over one of the nearby holiday parks for security reasons. However, the predicted visitor numbers are enormous, so we’re still very positive. In every empty field the council is setting up park and ride schemes.
Unlike running or cycling, where you can train anywhere, the sailing teams really need to be here in our bay to experience the conditions, so we’ve already had training teams in the area, which have lifted sales. We had a massive Sail for Gold test event back in June last year and that changed the dynamics of the business. We were really busy with teams coming in first thing in the morning for water, Coke and snacks such as Mars Bars, then they’d be back in the evening for more.
The change in trade means we’ll be extending our opening hours. I’m considering going 24-hours at the town centre store - there’ll be so many people around and I’ll be taking deliveries at 3am and 4am because of traffic restrictions so I might as well stay open.
In terms of working with suppliers over the Olympics, I’m still trying to see what doors I can open. The big companies such as Cadbury have plans in place, but others have yet to wake up to the opportunity. We’ll certainly be promoting themed goods nearer the time and putting more focus on gifting products.
The staff holiday rota has been worked out. No one is allowed to take leave from July 27 to August 12. It’s generally that way in a seaside town, but even more so this year. There’s an old adage that busy staff are happy staff, so there’ll be a definite buzz here.