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Business booms for AC vendors

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It was a baptism of fire for Bermudian businesses at the opening weekend of the America's Cup.

With an estimated 8,000 people at Saturday's sell-out opening day, and many thousands on Sunday, food and drink vendors were kept busy from start to finish.

The Docksider Pub and Restaurant, with four outlets in the America's Cup Village at Dockyard, served up more than 40 gallons of rum on the first day to keep pace with demand for Rum Swizzles.

Devil's Isle coffee company had to replenish its refrigerated cabinets after selling all its salads and wraps on Saturday and again on Sunday.

As vendors caught their breath yesterday following the hectic opening weekend and braced themselves for more, they spoke of their delight at the way things have gone so far.

The weekend's hot and sunny weather kept Scoops ‘N Cones ice cream van busy. A few of the retail packaged items, including Snickers ice cream bars, had sold out by yesterday, but the van's ice cream making machine was keeping up with demand.

Traditional ice cream cones have been the bestseller, with the vanilla and chocolate twist variety topping the list.

Johnny Eatherley, the owner, said the van was fitted with plenty of storage areas to ensure it did not run out of fresh ice cream.

“We've been very popular, and Saturday was very good. People like our system,” he said, explaining how customers pay before they reach the van and are given a token to exchange at the counter for their desired treat.

Mr Eatherley said the America's Cup has helped vendors and many other businesses, including construction, transportation, and security. He added: “Bermuda has done well, and the weather is excellent.”

Being able to cook a sizzling pizza in three minutes or less helped J&B's Wood Fired Pizza keep up with the high level of demand on the opening day.

Timothy Jackson, owner, said yesterday: “Saturday and Sunday we were very busy; today has been steady. We had a long line of customers all day on Saturday. It was a lot busier than I expected, but we were able to keep up. We hope to continue to do good business,” he said.

Dr Jackson, a former principal of Sandys Secondary Middle School, expressed gratitude to the many Bermudians who had come along to the event specifically to show support for the new pizza enterprise.

“This is our big debut. We have 11 staff, all Bermudians. I want to thank the Bermudian people who came along to support the business,” he said.

The most ordered pizza was “The Works”, while fresh, chilled lemon grass tea has also been a big seller.

Dr Jackson said local businesses would be able to fully assess the impact of the America's Cup, adding: “From the early signs it is going to be successful.”

Meanwhile, there were continuous lines of customers at the Devil's Isle outlet, where cold brew iced coffee and smoothies were top sellers.

Staff have been serving from seven in the morning, giving event village workers a place to buy a coffee and snack before the day gets fully under way. Freshly made wraps, salads and sushi have been popular.

Jackie Gonzales, manager, said: “On Saturday we sold everything, and Sunday was the same thing. Both days were crazy, but we held the line.”

Elsewhere, it was estimated that 8,000 customers, some of whom were likely repeat customers, were served drinks at The Docksider concessions.

“It's been an experience,” said Timmy Saints, director of operations. “The bartenders have done Docksiders proud and kept the customers happy.”

He said ice has become a valuable commodity, and is being treated “like diamonds”.

Harrison Piggott, general manager, said beer and Rum Swizzles were the most popular drinks.

“It has been phenomenal. We've been giving fast service, and there has been a lot of co-ordination to ensure we don't run out of anything.”

Docksider has 45 staff working at the event village, including owner Reed Young, who was busy wheeling kegs of beer to the main bar yesterday.

Paying tribute to his staff, he said: “Our team has performed out of this world, and Bermuda has too.”

During the month-long America's Cup event, Mr Young expects eight or nine days, mostly weekends, to attract capacity crowds to the America's Cup Village.

“We have to be ready for that,” he said, adding: “The America's Cup has been great and everyone involved has come together.”

Big debut: Timothy Jackson, third from right, owner of J&B's Wood Fired Pizza, with his staff who kept pace with demand during the hectic first weekend of the 35th America's Cup (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Time for a refill: Reed Young, owner of The Docksider Pub and Restaurant, delivers kegs of beer at the America's Cup village at Dockyard. It is estimated Docksider served 8,000 customers on the opening day of the America's Cup (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Thirsty work: Reed Young, second from right, with staff and managers at The Docksider Pub & Restaurant's main concession in the America's Cup Village at Dockyard. It is estimated Docksider served 8,000 customers on the opening day of the America's Cup (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Keeping up: Devil's Isle staff have seen strong demand for iced coffee, smoothies, salads and snacks during the first few days of the 35th America's Cup at Dockyard (Photograph by Scott Neil)

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Published May 30, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 30, 2017 at 12:54 am)

Business booms for AC vendors

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