Council scales back concession stand at arena

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Rising costs and slumping sales at the Wellesley arena concession stand mean the township will be cutting the operation. The exception will be during Wellesley Applejack hockey games and minor hockey tournaments, with the Junior C hockey club agreeing to operate the concession at those times.

Discussing the issue Tuesday night, Wellesley councillors agreed the move was necessary to curb losses, though not without some reservations.

“What are the implications of this agreement, booth being closed most times, in the event that there is a parent group that asks that it be opened for house league games or something like that?” asked Coun. Peter van der Maas. “Is there room for that to occur?”

“The whole intent is that for an hour rental, it’s not feasible economically to bring in staff to fire up everything just for that one rental,” said facilities maintenance coordinator Dan Mikel in response. “That’s why we went with the vending machines. We currently have a contract with the vendor, HB Vending. They provide healthy choices as well as traditional snack foods. Cold beverages, hot beverages, plenty of options. So yes it’s a possibility, but I don’t recommend it.”

The other condition of this agreement is that to save money in labour costs, the concession booth would be closed the remainder of the rental times. Patrons would have access to food and beverage vending machines located in the lobby.

The concession booth lost $197.50 for the 2017 hockey season due to the costs of stock and labour. This was before the costs of  overhead such as water, hydro, cleaning supplies and training were factored in.

Moving forward with the partnership, the Wellesley Applejacks would operate the concession booth, providing a 10 per cent cut that would give the township enough revenue to cover utility costs.

Records indicate that the average concession sales per Wellesley Applejacks game was approximately $350, meaning the township would generate $35 per home game. With 21 home games, the township would net $735, which would cover all utility costs. While the collaboration is not expected to generate any additional revenue, it would cover all expenses while meeting the needs of the community, councillors agreed.

The township also has an agreement with HB Vending, with their vending machines in both the St. Clements and Wellesley arenas. The agreement states 10 per cent of the sales will be given to the township as payment for using the arena lobby space for operation. Staff are also considering a coffee and hot chocolate dispensing machine for the Wellesley arena to accommodate patrons attending games while the concession booth is closed.