Businesses say Commonwealth Games are hurting them
THE Commonwealth Games was supposed to bring an unprecedented boost to the beloved Gold Coast but four days in, local businesses are still waiting for what was promised to them.
Cafes, supermarkets and especially nightclubs have put on a brave face amid dwindling sales, clinging to that quintessential "no worries" attitude and remaining optimistic.
But that no worries approach fell away last night, as news.com.au wandered the famous party streets of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, mere hours after the city's mayor said businesses need to "get out there and market".
"I mean, I never sat still when I ran my business," Mayor Tom Tate told reporters when asked how locals could recover from the slump.
Louise Huxham, assistant manager of Love nightclub in Broadbeach, didn't mince her words last night after seeing the mayor's interview.
"I was so p**sed off," Ms Huxham told news.com.au.
In a statement to news.com.au earlier today, Mr Tate said his advice had been "misinterpreted".
"I'm sorry my support for business has been misinterpreted," he said.
"I respect that businesses have done a lot to be 'Games ready'. Since Thursday, I have been using key media outlets across south east Queensland to encourage everyone to get out and vote with their wallets.
"I'm advised trade has picked up significantly today so let's keep it rolling," he said.
But sadly, the damage had already been done.
"[The mayor] is on the news talking about businesses and has the audacity to say, 'when I had a business I got out there and marketed'," Ms Huxham added.
"If he had any idea how much money we had spent on actual additional marketing to promote the Commonwealth Games, to promote that we're open for business, to promote our events
"We've put promo girls out on the street, we've done major pushes on social, invested money in sponsorship, print media and we're not seeing anything.
"So for him to say that, it's like, almost insulting for me."
Love is often the busiest nightclub in Broadbeach but Ms Huxham said they've been lucky to reach 50 per cent capacity over the past few days.
"We've been open every night, put a good calendar together and we've stayed open until 1am every night as a commitment to the locals and a commitment to the club but we've had zero traction," she said.
The assistant manager even resorted to putting her promo girls out the front of the nightclub on Thursday night, in an attempt to attract patrons inside.
"I normally wouldn't do it but we wanted to give them the hours. They're great kids and we wanted to respect that, I just gave them a few hours and said, 'Do the best you can my loves'," Ms Huxham said.
India Orrock, 18, Alisha Caldwell, 19, Kayla Hellestoe, 22 were the three girls tasked with trying to fill the club and despite admitting it was "a bit awkward", they were just happy for the hours.
At midnight on a Friday, Love is often at capacity with 500 people and has a line stretching out the door but last night, there was less than 200.
"We just had this hopeful expectation that we'd maybe make a bit of additional money but it's also depleted and destroyed additional trade," she said.
And nightclub bosses at nearby Surfers Paradise, while definitely busier than Broadbeach, all admitted things were quieter than usual.
"I've been dodging tumbleweed all week," Bedroom general manager Brad Oliver joked last night.
"I don't know if it's just the demographic that's here to watch the Games isn't suitable for the night-life but I'm hoping that when the events start to finish the athletes and friends start to come out.
"But you would think that's cause it's an international event that you'd have more people who'd be wanting to party," he added.
And at the world-famous Sin City, assistant manager Ric Gibson said he's hoping for a much better second week.
"Things aren't as good as we were hoping but we've done a lot better than everyone else, purely because we're Sin City. We've been here for that long and when people come to the Gold Coast, they know they come here. Reputation is a huge thing," Mr Gibson said.
"But this week's not been the best," he added.
Even the steadfast Hollywood Showgirls, the busiest strip club on Surfers' Orchid Avenue, reported a quarter of its normal trade.
Promoters out the front of the club at 1am last night said they had less than 50 people inside. On a normal Friday night, the club should have at least 200 inside.
A number of strippers, who refused to be named, said they were giving less than half the lap dances they normally do, cutting their nightly wage by hundreds.
Despite the downturn, everyone representing the Gold Coast night-life are keeping their heads up and are expecting next week, even tonight, to be better.
"We just want a traditional night, right now that's all we're asking for, just to have a normal Saturday night," Love manager Louise said.
"At the end of the day, the message should be 'we're open for business so let's just celebrate', they need to be telling people 'go out, go out, go out, this is your time to shine'.
"Obviously they've already paid for all the radio advertising but you can use that money and change that message to, 'hey, this is really cool, let's party'," she added.
Gold Coast tourism is also staying optimistic about business recovering.
Earlier today, GOLDOC boss Mark Peters said more than 22,000 tickets have been sold to Commonwealth Games events in the past two days, taking the total to more than a million.
"It is reasonable to suggest we are seeing a dispersal of the large crowds across the venue hubs, such as Cararra, Coolangatta, Southport, Oxenford and Coomera - as well as our usual visitor hot spots of Broadbecah and Surfers Paradise. This is probably impacting Festival attendance," a statement said.
Despite that, the city is expecting things to pick up dramatically over the weekend thanks to "the onset of better weather and greater awareness".