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Olson: sales down after social media row

Rick Olson has revealed sales have slid roughly 10 per cent since controversy erupted over his social media post.

Mr Olson — who was at the centre of attention again yesterday as large crowds marched on Front Street chanting “Boycott Rick” — said his businesses had suffered “a small negative impact” over the past three weeks. In April, he published a link on Facebook to a Wikipedia page titled “Hanged, drawn and quartered” with the caption “This might be a deterrent for blocking Parliament?”.

The post drew heavy criticism from others on social media, with some calling for the boycott of businesses owned by Mr Olson.

“Chants are to be expected I guess,” he said when told of yesterday's calls by The Royal Gazette.

Mr Olson, president of Chops Ltd, said he had been in Southampton at the company's Horseshoe Beach concession yesterday when the march passed Red Steakhouse and Bar and the Bermuda Bistro at the Beach. It was part of a May Day march through Hamilton in which people voiced support for public figures appearing in court on charges connected to the demonstrations of December 2.

Mr Olson said he had not received a phone call from his manager advising of any problems yesterday.

However, he said he had seen a downturn in business since authoring the post.

“I'd say maybe sales are down 10 per cent,” he said.

“It's not like where sales are way down, but it does affect some people more than others.”

Mr Olson said that he had given all staff members — who live “paycheque to paycheque” — a temporary pay bump to offset any lost revenue.

“That's something that I will do if business stays a little bit on the slow side,” he said.

He said he had not lost any employees since calls for the boycott began.

“We're still hiring,” he said. “We're short-staffed. I think most people in hospitality are short-staffed. Most of my colleagues that are business owners are all searching hard to find good people right now.”

Mr Olson said he respected people's choice to boycott as they saw fit, but that he did not think it was warranted.

“Politics are politics.”

Crowds marched on Front Street chanting “Boycott Rick” (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 02, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 02, 2017 at 7:46 am)

Olson: sales down after social media row

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