The 2011 B.C. Seniors Games wrapped up Saturday and things are returning to normal for local companies after a few days of working at a whirlwind pace during a usually slow time of year.
“It was wonderful having all these people around, it did add some business in town and our restaurant and we definitely could use the extra help, especially in the summer time,” said Jordan Kulik, owner of Lovin’ Oven Café and Catering with his wife, Allison.
Word got around town quickly about the restaurant, which kept the couple and their staff hopping, as they served double, even triple, the number of patrons they normally would on a daily basis.
According to Maggie Stayanovich, executive director of Trail’s Chamber of Commerce, more than $2 million was put into the local economy at last year’s Games in Comox and she believes the same amount was spent in the three host cities this year.
“They (the visitors) were very happy to spend money and had no problem,” she said. “Of course, they would all watch who had a coupon or ask where would be a good place to go and have a bite to eat because they were busy … But they were definitely happy, happy, happy.”
Before the Games, the chamber was giving businesses tips on how to help cope with the influx of people, like having more staff on hand and ordering more of certain products.
Based on some feedback she’s received, Stayanovich said business owners didn’t find things quite as busy as they thought they might.
“I think the original expectation was that it was going to be absolutely crazy but it wasn’t, it was just nice — they could handle it and the people that came appreciated what they had to offer,” she said.
Brandon Schroth, front desk supervisor at the Best Western, said they were very busy all week, with people slowly leaving town over the weekend. The hotel was booked solid months in advance.
There were more than 3,100 athletes participating, but the exact number of people who went through the area will be difficult to pinpoint because each person had their own entourage, Stayanovich said.
“I met grandkids and great-grandkids who were coming to watch grandpa play hockey, and wives … All of the hockey teams had spouses, all the curlers — it was amazing the number of coaches there, or people who were like ‘No, I’m just the cheerleader,’ or ‘I just carry her bags’.”
People from all over B.C. told her they were amazed they had never been to the Kootenay region before, but that they would definitely be back, a bonus for the local economy.
Stayanovich plans to do a survey of local businesses to find out exactly what worked, what didn’t and other thoughts about how the week went to prepare for other upcoming major events.