Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Food and drink outlets happy at promise of extra visitors

Food and drink outlets happy at promise of extra visitors

FOOD and drinks businesses in Henley have welcomed the promise of thousands of extra visitors for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

They expect to order additional supplies and have more staff on duty to cope with the extra footfall.

Lorraine Hillier, who runs the Hot Gossip coffee house in Friday Street, said: “I’m sure there will be an upturn and it will be a great thing for Henley.

“There will be a lot more visitors about and hopefully they’ll stay in town to do a bit of shopping and generally experience Henley after the race has set off.

“We’re expecting to see a lot of people who’ve never been before and that can only be a good thing as there will be an opportunity to get extra custom. I’ll be ensuring we’ve got all the necessary staff on in the morning although I’m sure we’ll want to watch it set off before heading back to the shop.”

She is a town councillor and chairman of South Oxfordshire District Council who was invited to the initial presentation about the event.

Councillor Hillier said: “I’ve seen how well-organised it is and I’m happy that it will run smoothly with minimal disruption to businesses and people living here.”

Vivienne Lee, who owns the Chocolate Cafés in Thames Side, Henley, and High Street, Goring, said she would ensure both were ready for the extra visitors.

She said the Henley outlet benefited from the Olympic torch relay passing through the town in 2012 so she hoped to do well again. Mrs Lee said: “Anything that brings people into Henley is fantastic news and we’ll be looking to promote ourselves as much as we can. It’s exciting to be involved in something like this.

“It will be happening the week before the Henley Women’s Regatta and it’ll be fabulous to have another big event, especially if the weather is gorgeous.

“The main concern for businesses is having the correct amount of staff because Wednesdays are usually just a normal trading day but we’ll need more for the numbers they’re predicting.”

Ricky Martin, owner of Patisserie Franco-Belge in Duke Street, said: “It sounds absolutely marvellous. We’ve got the regatta but that often draws people to the other side of the river so hopefully we’ll benefit from something focused on the town centre.”

Parminder Kaur, who owns Bell Street Baguettes, said: “If they can bring more people into town without causing disruption for my regulars, that’s a good thing and we’ll be sure to get extra cups of tea and things like that.”

Harry Dickson, landlord of the Three Tuns in Market Place, said: “It will be brilliant to have an increase in footfall and I imagine it will be helpful to a lot of businesses.”

Bradley Ralph, who manages the Angel on the Bridge in Thames Side, said: “It should be very good for businesses. Lunchtimes are always busy for us but if there’s more people than usual it could be more like a weekend.”

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