Supercars and the trade on the racetrack

ROARING TRADE: Harry's Cafe de Wheels owner Dave Nicholls stands to do well from the Supercars event to be held in Newcastle in November. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
ROARING TRADE: Harry's Cafe de Wheels owner Dave Nicholls stands to do well from the Supercars event to be held in Newcastle in November. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NEWCASTLE businesses have been promised “an unprecedented amount of additional business opportunity and economic benefit” when the Supercars roll into town on November 24. 

However, the response from Newcastle’s business community to the first Newcastle 500 has been mixed. 

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels on the foreshore is one business gearing up for the expected windfall. When the first round of tickets went on sale at the Supercars family day in April turnover at the pie-stand doubled.  

“If that’s any indication it’s looking good for us,” Mr Nicholls said. “We will have extra seating and tables, increased storage and a cool room.” 

Accommodation businesses have also reported strong trade. Newcastle Executive Apartments is booked out, general manager Dominic Grundy said.

Hunter Street’s The Crown and Anchor Hotel licensee Jacqueline Brown said she expected to do good trade during the race and would be ordering extra stock to cover the event. 

However, several East End businesses said they were still unsure how they would be operate during the race days. The Grain Store’s owner and licensee Corey Crooks said he would be taking a “suck it and see” approach.He said the race would be good for Newcastle, but was “still a bit of an unknown.” 

To capitalise on the race he has applied to extend his licensed area so he can trade on the street. 

“If we don’t get it, it’s probably not worth being open,” he said.

He also said the cost of doing business during the race would be higher, one factor being restrictions relating to the hours stock could be delivered due to the track lock-down. 

Supercars said the track would open at intervals during the race and it would work with businesses to ensure re-stocking was not an issue. 

Many of the businesses The Star spoke to complained of a lack of detail and information from Supercars about how the event would affect their business. Some businesses saw no benefit in opening during the days of the race. 

Suki Hairdressing managing director Sandy Chong said she would be forced to close the doors of the salon on what were usually the strongest trading days of the year.

“It will be gridlocked, our customers won’t be able to find parks,” she said. “We will have to close.” 

The T&G building, on the corner of Hunter and Bolton Streets, houses 38 office suits. Doctor Cheng Smart, director of Cedtoy, the company which owns the building, said the event would cause problems for her tenants, who were comprised of lawyers, accountants, architects and engineers. 

“Parking is a real problem, and the matter of noise,” Dr Smart said. “From my point of view there will be difficulty accessing the premises.” 

She said there had not been enough “detailed consideration” of the impact the race would have on business not linked to tourism and hospitality. Her tenants were yet to decide whether they would open. 

Supercars acknowledged the event would create some disruption but claimed it had “overwhelming support for the event”.