Edward Tuson from the EdGe restaurant.

Triathlon affects Sooke business

Positive affect for many

The triathlon, over a number of days,  drew lots of people to Sooke including spectators, families and, of course, athletes. But did businesses notice the extra traffic?

“Absolutely,” said Lorien Arnold, owner of Sooke Mountain Cycle on Anna Marie Road. “I think it helped with everybody’s businesses in Sooke because we’re all interconnected.”

For Arnold’s shop, it was athletes visiting his shop for quick repairs and buying souvenirs like T-shirts and other promotional items. Their families also came along, and the question asked most often was where to eat.

He quipped a friend of his had a saying that “cycle tourists were like 2,000 calorie-a-day tourists.”

Stone Pipe Grill manager Randy Welters said their restaurant was definitely a recipient of the energy-starved.

“There was an immediate increase in business through the whole week. We could tell for at least seven to 10 days before that there was a triathlon coming.”

From chatting with patrons and conducting an informal in-house survey, he said guests were of a “mixed bag variety” that included out-of-town volunteers and officials from all over Canada and the United States.

Welters said there were “certainly lots of athletes” that were identifiable as soon as they walked through the door because “they looked like they were in shape.”

However, the spike in customers through the door wasn’t felt across the board. Just a block over at the EdGe restaurant, sales went up “maybe for one day, 10 to 15 per cent,” said owner and chef Edward Tuson.

Closed Sundays and Mondays, triathlon race day didn’t impact their establishment. On the Saturday, there was a “small influx” of people, many of which were athletes.

“I sold a lot of pasta. Pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta,” said Tuson, who added it was nothing like how busy they were during the Sooke Fine Arts Show.

“I was hoping for more but it wasn’t.”

A similar sentiment was shared by a shop in a non-related sector: the Only Deals store in Evergreen Centre.

“We didn’t notice it,” said owner Don Chou, who thought they might have even been a little quieter than usual.

“I wasn’t expecting anything—it wasn’t a pay day thing, it wasn’t a big holiday, (and) the weather was going to be kind of iffy.”

Sundays are traditionally an unpredictable day for his store, particularly in the summertime, and Chou said he wouldn’t want to say the triathlon affected them negatively.